Minneapolis police have released new guidelines in the event that people are attacked by violent criminals, a new report says.
According to the police, people must be more proactive regarding their safety especially since the city is currently facing an unprecedented surge in violent crime since the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
Among the tips offered by police to the city’s residents include not walking alone, being “hyper-aware” of one’s surroundings at all times, carrying less cash than usual and by cooperating with criminals.
In addition, Minneapolis residents are advised to refrain from fighting with criminals in order to preserve their safety.
These guidelines, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, were released just as residents started airing complaints regarding slow police responses, with some noting that the police are taking longer to respond to emergency calls.
“Police murdered a man in our neighborhood and then they just all fell out and left us alone to figure out our own as far as protecting our neighborhoods,” Leslie Bowden, a long-time resident who lives in the area surrounding Floyd’s memorial said, adding that their neighborhood now feels like a warzone.
“You feel isolated like you’re in a war zone sometimes, but there’s no one helping us,” Bowden said.
Local authorities have since launched an inquiry into the matter, with city council members questioning the city’s officers’ apparent reluctance to enter the area surrounding Floyd’s memorial at E. 38th Street and S. Chicago Avenue – an area that has become a pilgrimage site for countless visitors and civil rights activists, as well as a site for countless violent shootings.
“People in this area, they’re not experiencing slow response, they’re experiencing no response. They’re being told that this is called a no-go zone by MPD,” Council Member Andrea Jenkins said.
This lack of proper response from authorities has been linked to the steady decline in the number of officers employed by the city police department over the past two months.
As per a report, 40 cops have either resigned, been fired or are currently in the process of leaving the force, while another 75 have taken medical leaves for post-traumatic stress disorder allegedly caused by the riots that followed Floyd’s death.
The latter event, which has been noted by mainstream media as an example of extreme police brutality, has dealt a blow to the morale within the department, according to veteran officers, with some cops seen to be scaling back their policing efforts out of fear that their interactions with people on the street could land them in proverbial hot water.
“It’s almost like a nuclear bomb hit the city, and the people who didn’t perish are standing around,” Officer Rich Walker Sr., a Minneapolis police veteran and union official who has been with the force for 16 years, said.
In addition, an anonymous insider noted that the Minneapolis Police Department, despite having enough funds to support 888 officers, stands to lose about one-third of its entire force by the end of the year. (Related: Seattle police union leader says Seattle will be “lawless wasteland” if police are defunded.)
This, authorities say, could spell bad news for the city, especially as it grapples with an uptick in violent crimes.
Minneapolis has been a focal point of the Black Lives Matter movement since Floyd’s death on May 25, with the incident sparking protests and general civil unrest in the city, as well as other locations in the United States.
Aside from protests, however, Floyd’s death has also been linked to a dramatic uptick in violent crime within the city, with homicides, shootings and robberies in Minneapolis increasing by double digits compared to statistics from last year.
According to official MPD records, 288 people have been shot this year, a figure that exceeds the recorded total for all of 2019.
Authorities have also recorded a total of 41 homicides in the city, as well as 100 armed robberies and 20 carjackings in the city’s Third Precinct.
This is not isolated to Minneapolis, however, with a Wall Street Journal analysis of crime statistics from the nation’s 50 largest cities noting that reported homicides were up by 24 percent so far this year.
Despite the dire statistics, however, a spokesman for the police insists that the MPD has enough officers to patrol the city.
“Right now we have reduced numbers of sworn people due to COVID, midyear retirements and medical leaves. The vacancies are being filled by other sworn personnel,” John Elder, a spokesman for the MPD, said. “Whereas we have less sworn people than six months ago, we are not seeing staff shortages on any sort of a routine basis.”
The Minneapolis Charter Commission said it will need more time to review a specific amendment in the city charter that would dismantle the city’s police department, with several commissioners noting that the process to change the city’s charter was “being rushed.”
The proposed amendment, which was drafted following widespread criticism of law enforcement over Floyd’s death, would have replaced the city’s police department with a “Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention.” This department, according to the amendment’s backers, would take a more “holistic” approach to law enforcement.
According to a CBS report, the lack of a final decision from the commission means the proposal will not make the ballot this November.
Despite this setback, however, the city would still move ahead with the community engagement process, Steve Fletcher, a city council member and one of the authors of the proposal, said.
According to Fletcher, this is because the city wants “to build a collective vision of what we really want the future of public safety to look like.”
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, however, remains opposed to eliminating the city’s existing police department.
“We should not go down the route of simply abolishing the police department. What we need to see within this department, and within many departments throughout the country, is a full-on culture shift,” Frey said.
Mayor Frey and Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, have earlier moved ahead with their own changes to the police force since Floyd’s death, such as requiring officers to document their attempts to de-escalate situations whether or not force is used, as well as the expansion of requirements for reporting use-of-force incidents.
“Requiring officers who may become suspects to complete a police report before reviewing body cam footage will help ensure that investigators, attorneys, and jurors receive a transparent account of how an officer remembers the incident — one that hasn’t been influenced by other evidence,” Frey said in a statement.
Arradondo, meanwhile, said the change would align with the rules for civilians, who are not allowed to watch body camera footage for an incident in which they may be potential suspects.
“The policies also restrict consultation with certain representatives immediately following a critical incident and clarify time requirements for reporting,” he said.