MINNEAPOLIS - A neighborhood crime walk turned heated Tuesday when the city council president blamed judges for an increase in crime on the city's north side.
"There are hard working people that work in North Minneapolis that do not deserve to have their neighborhoods overrun by thugs with guns and I'm tired of it," said Minneapolis City Council President Barbara Johnson.
Johnson said she has met privately with Hennepin County judges twice this year about what she believes are weak penalties for gun crimes.
Those private conversations are now sparking a public plea.
"When someone is arrested with a gun, they need to do time. The penalties are there. Impose them," said Johnson. "I am pleading with you. This is not the way to treat our community."
The remarks came as Police Chief Janee Harteau announced arrests in two weekend murders on the north side. She echoed Johnson's concerns.
"I support Councilwoman Johnson's plea and I would ask for the same. We are arresting people who should have been kept in jail," said Harteau.
Harteau said the department has increased patrols in the area, is adding more shot spotters and plans more community engagement.
"People in this neighborhood know exactly who commits the crimes," said Harteau. "They know when they're going to happen and we need to have that conversation before it happens. People need to feel empowered."