MAYOR HODGES: 'The violence in north Minneapolis must stop' - FOX 13 News

MAYOR HODGES: 'The violence in north Minneapolis must stop'

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MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -

On Tuesday afternoon, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges joined community leaders on a walk through north Minneapolis as part of outreach efforts following a deadly string of violence over the holiday weekend.


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At 4 p.m., Hodges began to walk the Broadway and Lyndale Avenue North area to talk with residents about how the city is responding to a recent string of violence. The event began just hours after Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau toured the area as well, and Hodges voiced her support for the chief's plan to put more police attention on the area.

"The violence in North Minneapolis must stop," said Mayor Hodges. "I support Chief Harteau's plans for deployment of police resources, doubling shot spotter coverage and continued hiring of new police officers. As MPD continues to investigate this weekend's senseless violence, all of us, including me, need to do what we can to support those efforts and make our communities safe places to live."

Over the Fourth of July, gunfire rang out at three separate locations, leaving four injured and two dead. The two who were killed have been identified as 28-year-old Cabrie Young, who leaves behind a wife and five children, and 24-year-old Francesca Desandre. During Harteau's visit to north Minneapolis, she confirmed that a third arrest had been made in Young's slaying, but police have yet to make an arrest in Desandre's death.

"One homicide is too many," Harteau said. "We had two in a relatively short period of time over this past weekend, which really elevates what we're trying to do."

So far, Harteau says police are working on getting out of the squad and into the community so they can be more accessible to residents who wish to share information. According to Harteau, there are more police on foot, bike, and mounted patrol in the area now. Additionally, Harteau said the Department of Corrections will focus intently on "prolific offenders" in the area.

Harteau explained that shooting calls in the 4th precinct have risen about 36% from last year, and said officers there have already seized 258 guns -- a 35% increase from the 2013 total of 192.

"Currently, we know too many people are using guns to resolve conflicts," Harteau said.

Minneapolis City Council President Barb Johnson, who represents the 4th Ward, took that statement a step further as she publicly called on Hennepin County judges to take gun crime seriously in north Minneapolis.

"This is intolerable in our community," Johnson said. "There are hard-working people that live in north Minneapolis that do not deserve to have their neighborhood overrun with thugs with guns, and I'm tired of it."

Johnson explained that she has privately asked the judges to impose penalties when someone is arrested with a gun, and Harteau joined that call by emphasizing that officers seldom arrest people who do not have criminal histories. Harteau also stressed that the Minneapolis Police Department deploys "an enormous amount of resources and time" on apprehension, but both Johnson and Harteau say those suspects often get released on little or no bail.

"These people doing the shooting are well known in our criminal justice system," Johnson said during her public plea to the judges. "Hold them accountable."

Now, community leaders are issuing a call for a 'change in attitude,' saying that police won't be able to arrest the problem away. Officials are urging residents to leave guns out of disputes, and they stress that it's a city-wide concern that is not just contained to the affected neighborhoods.

"I understand how this senseless violence destroys the sense of community we all work so hard for," Hodges said. "Everyone has a right to feel safe in their neighborhoods and at home. As Mayor, it is my job to ensure we are doing everything we can to stop the violence. Together, we all say: enough is enough."

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