Home U.S. Minneapolis gang violence intensifies after police defunding: ‘It’s like you’re playing Russian roulette’

Minneapolis gang violence intensifies after police defunding: ‘It’s like you’re playing Russian roulette’

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In North Minneapolis, the intersection of North Lindale and West Broadway draws crowds every night. They roam, they smoke, they drink, they trade drugs, they use drugs. An open-air drug market takes the form of a street party until gunfire erupts. It happens almost every night.

We were in Minneapolis for two nights and both nights there was a shootout at the intersection. Two people were shot the first night. It’s so serious that the petrol station on the corner is called the “murder station” by the locals. Nearby residents say the violence, drug use and gang activity in North Minneapolis has become unbearable.

Fearing retaliation, Christiana only gave her first name. “I have a son who I raised here,” she says. “My kid can’t play in the yard. I hear her four gunshots in one night on the block.” Loretha King stopped our camera crew to inform the plight of those in her community. gave me “Kids can’t go anywhere, like Wendy’s or Taco Bell.” She says, “There’s so much drug trafficking, so much gang violence.”

Mike Orker is the general manager of the Great Hall on 4th Avenue, about a block and a half away from Murder Station. He was keen to capture pictures of drug dealers out of the alleys behind bars every night on security cameras. “I’ve never seen anything worse. I don’t think anyone has seen anything worse,” he says.

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Violent crime surge times out with police reimbursement/disbandment moves. Year-to-date violent crime is now up 29% compared to 2019, the year before George Floyd was murdered. The year of the riots, violent crime surged 20% in Minneapolis. “I think it really flared up after the George Floyd situation,” says King, who said after budget cuts and a public campaign by the Minneapolis City Council to abolish the Minneapolis Police Department, the MPD has replaced his 300 police officers. has been reduced. As a result, people in trouble complain that it can take him up to an hour to get a response to a 911 call. “We need the police forever to get here now,” says King.

FILE - Dante Wright's family gathers for the first anniversary of George Floyd's death on May 25, 2021 in Minneapolis. A candlelight vigil to honor Floyd's memory at the intersection where he died was one of the remembrances scheduled for Wednesday's second anniversary of the killing of a black man at the hands of Minneapolis police officers.

FILE – Dante Wright’s family gathers for the first anniversary of George Floyd’s death on May 25, 2021 in Minneapolis. A candlelight vigil to honor Floyd’s memory at the intersection where he died was one of the remembrances scheduled for Wednesday’s second anniversary of the killing of a black man at the hands of Minneapolis police officers.
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Mike Martin, vice president of the Midwest Gang Investigators Association, says the audacity seen in young gangs is a result of undermining support for the police. “There is no question among young people and young people that they believe there is no impact on what they do because there are fewer police officers,” he said, noting that the police were severely understaffed. and investigators are tasked with day-to-day policing.

People march at the Amir Rock rally in Minneapolis, Saturday, February 5, 2022.  Minneapolis will hold a funeral on Thursday, February 17, 2022 for The Rock, a 22-year-old black man who was shot by Minneapolis police earlier this month when he executed a search warrant.

People march at the Amir Rock rally in Minneapolis, Saturday, February 5, 2022. Minneapolis will hold a funeral on Thursday, February 17, 2022 for The Rock, a 22-year-old black man who was shot by Minneapolis police earlier this month when he executed a search warrant.
(AP Photo/Christian Monterrosa file)

Reverend Darryl Spence is the liaison between the twin city police and gang members. He said young gangs are aware that the police are understaffed, slow to respond, and reluctant to respond aggressively. “If you’re a criminal, you know the police aren’t coming. You have more time to do what you do and get away,” Spence says.

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I spoke with an older member of Twin Cities’ Gangster Disciples. He didn’t want to use his name, but told me that the gang’s disintegration contributed to the violence. No central or permanent leadership. When a decision is made to shoot someone over a petty dispute, there is no stalwart within the gang to stop it. “These gangs are reckless these days, really reckless,” says the gang. “There used to be a structure there, no women, no children. Now it’s free for everyone and anyone can join.” Martin makes a similar observation about gangs. “They’re young, unorganized, and out with guns because they’re often unstoppable and use their guns when they run into rivals.”

Gangs say people can get shot anywhere. But people hanging out and drinking on the streets like Broadway and Lindale are just having fun until the next shoot.

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