Several Minneapolis residents went to court Monday, where they sued the city for failing to adequately staff police amid a rise in violent crime, WCCO reported Tuesday.
“Every single night on any block in this neighborhood you can hear gunshots!” plaintiff Cathy Spann said, according to WCCO. “Every single freaking night!”
Spann, who lives in the Jordan neighborhood of Minneapolis, was among the residents asking the city for more police protection. The judge heard their pleas for help in court Monday. City attorneys claimed that the lawsuit had no standing because the plaintiffs had not been hit by gunfire themselves.
“We walked outside and I pulled this bullet out of my house. Out of my home, out of my siding,” Resident Jon Lundberg, another plaintiff, said, according to WCCO.
Former city council member Don Samuels and his wife Sondra are among the plaintiffs, and were offended by the city attorney’s claim.
“To get standing we need to take a bullet, right? We’ve seen our neighbors take bullets. We know the 20 year old, we know the six month old who’s in the car when her mom gets shot up,” Sondra Samuels said, according to WCCO.
The plaintiffs blame the Minneapolis City Council’s efforts to defund the police for the rise in violence, and the attorney representing the plaintiffs, James Dickey, says the city would not say how many officers are on the street. A city charter says a minimum of 753 officers are needed to protect residents, according to WCCO.
“Minneapolis is in a crisis. The city faces a violent crime rate that has skyrocketed this year. It is the responsibility of the City Council and the Mayor to make Minneapolis safe. Instead, the City Council and Mayor Jacob Frey have violated their duties to fund, employ and manage a police force as required by the City Charter,” states the lawsuit, which was filed in Hennepin County District Court in August, said. (RELATED: Minneapolis Residents Sue City Council And Mayor For Failing To Staff Police Amid Crime Surge)
“We didn’t get anything we think from the city, and their affidavits they provided or today in court that would actually indicate that they have enough police on the force to keep Minneapolis safe, according to the city charter,” Dickey said.
“There’s some obfuscation and some disagreement as to what that number is, and we believe that part of the apathy of the city is an unwillingness to look itself … in the mirror and say, ‘What do we look like? What do we have and what do we need?’” Don Samuels said.
Following the death of George Floyd in May, the Minneapolis City Council proposed dismantling the police department. The proposal will not appear on November ballots for voters to decide on the issue because a Charter Commission chose to take additional time to review the proposal after determining in August that it was rushed and gave the city councils too much power.
Dozens of Minneapolis businesses have expressed concerns with the prospect of the police department being dismantled, reporting in a survey that they are considering leaving downtown.
The Minneapolis City Attorney’s office said it’s vigorously defending the city in a lawsuit, and is confident city leaders have met their obligations as required by the city charter, according to WCCO. The judge now has 90 days to make a decision.