MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A community in Minneapolis is looking for answers tonight after another person is murdered, and young people want to sit down to discuss solutions.
Officers arrived on Aldrich Avenue Friday night after reports of gunshots. They found a man who had been shot outside a house, who was taken to a hospital and later died. On Saturday, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo turned to the community to help stop the violence.
“The truth is that too many people are dying in our city,” Arradondo said.
The police chief spoke to a group of young people to give their input on community violence, public safety and police reform.
“I’m terrified of what’s going on in our city because I see a public safety conversation, yet I don’t see enough of our faces in that conversation,” said Young People Task Force co-chair Al Flowers Jr. .
Flowers Jr. led the charge to get his peers, aged between 13 and 28, to talk about what isn’t happening in their communities. The main concern for Task Force members is that their voices are not being heard.
“We want to be able to come up with solutions and take preventive measures so that we can be part of the solution, so we can change the story of what’s happening in this city,” said Flowers Jr.
The Youth Task Force is a branch of the Unity in Community Mediation Team that revived a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2003. The agreement includes officer responsibilities, grievance and disciplinary procedures, the use of force and the diversification of the workforce.
Their group said they want to see more involvement, mentorship from older people and help set up a community center for young people to go to instead of taking to the streets.
“We must get to the heart of the problem why, as I stand before you in Shiloh [Temple] and we have a $180,000 crime fighter reward for three babies and we don’t have anyone in custody,” Arradondo said.
The police chief believes the community should work with the police to address issues that directly affect everyone.
“85% of the victims of gunshot violence look like us, also 85% of the people who commit these crimes look like us. So we can go ahead and we have to talk about police responsibility and I have to lead that charge in that,” Arradondo said. “But I’m telling you right now, the biggest threat to public safety in our city, especially in the African American community, isn’t someone wearing this uniform.”
The youths said they know many of the victims and some of the perpetrators of violence, but they want other youths to help bring about the change the community needs.
“Talk about police brutality, systematic racism, and if you see crime happening, say it. Don’t be afraid to tell what happened because we need to catch those people who are committing the crimes,” said 13-year-old task force member LaZya Smith.
The Friday night shooting was the 73rd homicide in Minneapolis this year.