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Minneapolis City Council questions police chief about violence in city

"We are experiencing gun violence in this city that we have not seen in five years."

MINNEAPOLIS — During a Minneapolis City Council study session Tuesday, Police Chief Medaria Arradondo gave an update on violence in the city and answered questions about what the department is doing about it.

Throughout the meeting, multiple council members brought up what they called a disconnect between what they say rank-and-file officers are telling their constituents and what they're hearing from department leadership.

They said constituents are telling them police aren't enforcing property crime and are claiming officers are blaming the lack of response on a lack of resources.

"My constituents are looking at me like, 'What is the city doing?' MPD is not showing up," said Ward 4 council member, Phillipe Cunningham. "When they get here, [officers] say, 'Oh, well, we're just running from call to call, so we can't really do anything.'"

The Chief said the department is not turning a "blind eye toward crime" and that he will be following up with command staff about those claims and making sure that message is heard "loud and clear."

Arradondo also noted the city is seeing levels of gun violence it hasn't experienced in years. 

"I will tell you, it is an all hands on deck approach. We are experiencing gun violence in this city that we have not seen in five years," Arradondo said. "We are sadly approaching almost 400 people who have been shot and wounded by gun violence."

Violence near 38th and Chicago, where George Floyd was killed and where the intersection remains blocked off, was also a topic during the meeting. 

City Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins said residents near the intersection are concerned about violence and intimidation, and claim officers won't respond to the area.

"The level of gun violence, drug dealing, intimidation, extortion, people are having to pay to get out of their alleys. Are we doing anything to be engaged and resolve these problems?" Jenkins asked Arradondo Tuesday. "The community thinks, and is hearing [from police] as much as what we've heard from all the council members ahead of me, [38th & Chicago] is a "no-go" zone, [police are] not coming there, meet us three blocks away, etc. etc."

"I do believe that with the current traffic environment situation up there [38th & Chicago], there are some individuals there that, quite frankly, have become more emboldened," Arradondo said. "The longer that situation kind of stays as it is right now, that is something that is going to be problematic."

The Chief said teams are responding to the area near 38th & Chicago and that will continue.

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