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Petition started to address recent crime at north Minneapolis intersection

The Sanctuary Covenant Church started a petition to address recent violence and now they're calling on the city for more accountability.

MINNEAPOLIS — The Sanctuary Covenant Church and the surrounding community started a petition to address recent violence, and now they're calling on the city for more accountability.

"We attract people from all races, backgrounds, ethnicities," said lead pastor, Edrin Williams.

The Sanctuary Covenant Church has been a fixture in north Minneapolis for decades.

"We want to be a place of healing and community in north Minneapolis and have seen some incredible victories, but we've also seen some very hard things happening on this corner," said Williams.

In a new petition addressed to Mayor Jacob Frey and the Minneapolis City Council, Williams and Andrea Lee, Director of Operations, are calling on city leaders to address safety concerns at the nearby intersection of West Broadway and Lyndale Avenues.

"Particularly in the lot we share out front with Merwin Liquors, you can see on any given day, things like drug dealing, prostitution, and it happens in front of that location and the gas station across the street," Williams said. 

"Our front door this summer had 14 bullet strikes, we've had three windows blown out and numerous shootings in the lot, including in the last two weeks, there have been eight people shot on our lot," said Lee.

Lee says they've tried to create a space of healing in the parking lot – to no avail.

RELATED: Four shot outside north Minneapolis liquor store

"In May, we put in the 'Love Minneapolis' art garden, and we closed the Broadway entrance to the lot, we put out pot planters and sprinkled them throughout the lot to stop loitering," said Lee.

But now they're calling on the city to hold businesses accountable and come up with a proactive community safety plan, to help prevent more violence from taking place outside their doors.

"What we're asking for, again, is for the mayor and city council to look at their business practices, and if it can be shown that they are not doing the part, and repercussions for them, and I don't know if it would be allowed anywhere else," said Williams.

The City of Minneapolis issued a statement saying;

The City of Minneapolis takes its regulatory responsibility with respect to licensed businesses seriously. The oversight powers in response to licensing codes follow a progressive discipline process, the City does not possess emergency closure powers. The City has engaged with the both Merwin Liquors and Winner Gas after the recent events of gun violence to review possible connections of the violence to the business, its security plans and actions available to the City. This investigation is on-going.

On Wednesday evening, Andrea Jenkins with the Minneapolis City Council told KARE 11 that they support the community with their request. "we need to look into their licenses and determine if there are ways to hold them accountable for the egregious behavior that happen inside and outside of those facilities," she told KARE 11 in an email.

KARE 11 reached out to Merwin Liquor's for comment, but have yet to respond.

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