MINNEAPOLIS — Bullets shot right through the windows at the Minneapolis Public School's Davis Center and a group of teens were seen hanging out the windows of a stolen Kia pointing guns at people -- it was another alarming crime spree in Minneapolis.
This time, prompting strong words from Minneapolis Police Chief Brian O'Hara about juvenile offenders -- "For the past year, they have been allowed to continue to wreak havoc in our neighborhoods with no recourse and no consequences. We cannot continue to tolerate this behavior."
"I've spoken to Chief O'Hara a number of times and we both agree that the juvenile system as it has been working is not working right now, particularly in the area of the car thefts," said Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty.
Moriarty said her office charged the juveniles in that case as soon as MPD sent them the cases yesterday.
But in other cases, such as the chaotic, violent weekend in Dinkytown earlier this month, MPD arrested people but did not send any cases to the prosecution, leading some people to wrongly assume Moriarty chose not to charge those teens.
When a juvenile is arrested, police bring them to the juvenile detention center which will only book teens for certain crimes.
At that point, there is a period of time in which the police need to send the case to the prosecutor.
If the prosecutor then chooses to charge, a judge will decide whether to keep the teen detained or release them to a parent with conditions until trial.
"Let's say they're released, the question is then how long does it take to resolve the case. And I think that's a big gap here. It can take months," Moriarty said. "Those are the youth that aren't getting any resources whatsoever, because their case hasn't been resolved yet. And I think those are some of the youth that law enforcement and community are seeing coming in on repeated car thefts."
Moriarty says her office is trying to close that gap -- working with MPD on possibly reinstating a diversion program among other ideas -- because she thinks drawn-out court cases are ineffective for teens.
"For youth, they need really quick intervention. And they need quick consequences," Moriarty said.
Concerning this most recent case with the stolen Kia and the shots fired at the Davis Center, since the kids are under 16, most of the details will stay private and we will not be able to follow this case through the court system.
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