Breaking News
More () »

Robbery beatdown videos heighten MPD staffing debate

The shocking videos show mobs of people beating victims senseless in downtown Minneapolis

Once again, the topic before the Minneapolis City Council was police staffing, as Chief Medaria Arradondo explained how the 14 officers he and Mayor Jacob Frey are asking for in the budget would be used. 

RELATED: Amid push for more officers, Chief stresses change in MPD

The proposal includes 3 additional investigators, 8 neighborhood outreach officers, and 3 in a re-established traffic enforcement unit.

The proposal was again met with skepticism by several council members.

That, as disturbingly violent videos of recent downtown robberies are made public, causing business owners to speak up.

The surveillance video is brutal. One shows a group of people on the Target Field Plaza start punching a man, then jumping on him, stripping off his pants and stealing from his pockets, throwing a potted plant on him, then running over him with a bicycle.

"I don't think I have ever seen anything like what I saw at Target Field," said Ken Sherman, owner of 7 Steakhouse and Sushi on Hennepin Ave.

Sherman has long been a critic of the amount of crime-fighting resources spent downtown. He thinks these videos recorded in August, while shocking, are important for the public to see.

"Look, stealing is one thing. But the level of viciousness goes far beyond I think anything any of us who are civil people imagine," Sherman said.

A second video given to KARE 11 this week shows a group surrounding a man at 5th and Hennepin, snatching his cell phone then beating him senseless. 

WARNING: Video contains extremely violent images

And Sherman gave KARE yet another video, recorded in July, of the same thing happening to two men in that same area. 

Police recently arrested 16 people allegedly involved in these incidents.

At this time last year, there'd been 156 robberies in the downtown precinct. This year, there's been 240. That's more than a 53% increase.

But are the videos a window into the need to hire more officers? Mayor Jacob Frey thinks so.

"We want officers out there on the street walking the beat, preventing some of these serious crimes before they take place to begin with," Frey said.

But Steve Fletcher and some of his fellow council members are skeptical of additional hires. They believe downtown policing can be improved with completely revamped scheduling and staffing.

"I want to tie our investments to structural change that improves the performance of the police department," Fletcher said.

Sherman has core disagreements with those council members' philosophies on preventing crime downtown.

"I think the core of the problem is a city council that is more concerned about being politically correct than making people safe," Sherman said.

Fletcher says they don't want officers targeting people for things like loitering.

"Then we do need to careful about who we're targeting. Because you're basically criminalizing standing on the street," Fletcher said.

As for the robberies, police say they've gone way down after the recent arrests they hope no more videos like this pop up.

Chief Arradondo wants to add 400 officers by the year 2025. But he and the Mayor believe 14 new hires for next year is the most that would get approved.  A survey released on Monday found 63 percent of Minneapolis residents support the Chief's original idea.

MORE NEWS: "We need to change the narrative": St. Paul leaders regroup after explosion of gun violence

Before You Leave, Check This Out