Residents in Minneapolis filed a lawsuit against the city, claiming that there aren’t enough police patrolling the streets amid months of violent and dangerous civil unrest.
Local Fox affiliate KSMP reported that the lawsuit claims the city is not meeting minimum Minneapolis Police Department staffing levels required in the city charter. “We simply want to have enough police on the streets to keep Minneapolis safe,” said attorney James Dickey.
Violent crimes in the Midwest city have continued to climb since the death of George Floyd while in custody of the MPD. By mid-September, Minneapolis had racked up 3,674 violent crimes, including homicide, rape, robbery, and aggravated assaults. The increase is a 17 percent jump from the previous five-year average for the same period, Star Tribune reported.
The group of petitioners want the lawsuit to spark action at City Hall despite the city requesting the judge dismiss the lawsuit. After nearly an hour of arguments, the judge did not make a decision. She has 90 days to make a ruling.
The group probed city leaders regarding the number of police currently deployed throughout the city, asserting that the MPD has fallen well below minimum levels required. MPD numbers have fallen in recent months as officers continuing taking various types of leave or quitting completely since Floyd’s Memorial Day death.
Former Councilor Don Samuels and his wife said the streets are so filled with violent crimes — including shootings, carjackings, and murders — that children cannot go outside and play.
“We have made the emotional appeal,” Samuels said. “We have demonstrated the statistical uptick and now this is the legal action we are exercising because it seems as if the City Council cannot hear us and doesn’t feel what we feel.”
According to KMSP, without providing specific employment data, the city and its attorneys claim that Minneapolis is meeting the required number of officers according to the city’s population.
“We are here because of people’s safety,” said community activist Cathy Spann. “We want law and order. We want reform. But we are in this city to say, enough is enough.”
Despite the significant uptick in violence, the majority of City Council members promised to “end policing as we know it.”
“This is like all they are focused on is having a reimagined police department while we’re focused on staying alive,” said petitioner Sondra Samuels.