Minneapolis, MN – Three separate shootings occurred within 24 minutes on Oct. 4 and Minneapolis police struggled to respond to the simultaneous crime scenes with so many officers off of the streets.
“When you have three serious incidents all coming that quickly together it does strain our resources. The chief has asked for additional officers and we continue to do the absolute best with what we’ve got for resources,” Minneapolis Police Spokesperson John Elder told reporters, according to KMSP.
The first shooting occurred at about 2 a.m. on Oct. 4 in the 300-block of West Broadway.
Then officers responded to a shooting in the 4300-block of 46th Avenue South at 2:23 a.m., KMSP reported.
About one minute later, at 2:24 a.m., gunfire erupted in downtown on the corner of 4th Street North and 1st Avenue North.
The increasing number of simultaneous crime scenes due to the recent rise in violent crime in the city has what remains of the city’s beleaguered police force scrambling to serve the city, KMSP reported.
The police department has shuffled people around to fill gaping holes left since roughly 20 percent of the officers have filed for “duty disability” in the wake of violent riots after Floyd died.
Almost 200 officers have sought “duty disability” to leave the Minneapolis Police Department and cited the reason as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from the riots.
Fifty of the officers who have claimed disability were present when the 3rd Precinct was overrun by rioters on May 28 and burned to the ground, according to KMSP.
Attorney Ron Meuser, who is representing the officers seeking disability, said the siege of the 3rd Precinct was the tipping point for the many of the officers.
“They did not feel they were going to come home,” Meuser told KMSP.
He said some officers texted their goodbyes to their families and others said they had planned to save a bullet for themselves that night rather than being beaten to death by the mob.
The attorney said many of the Minneapolis officers he represents feel abandoned by their local leaders as well as the communities they’ve served for years, KMSP reported.
“We have de-staffed certain units, cut back certain units to be sure we have the staffing available to meet the needs of the city,” the police department spokesperson said.
The Minneapolis police chief has also pointed to record numbers of veteran officers retiring as contributing to the staffing problem.
Elder said officials have reallocated resources among precincts based on where they’re most needed at the time.
He also said the city has relied on backup from the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, the Minneapolis Park Police, and the Metro Transit police departments, KMSP reported.
There have been 63 murders in Minneapolis so far this year.
In 2019, the city had a total of 48 homicides, KMSP reported.
The city council pushed legislation to abolish the Minneapolis Police Department in the wake of Floyd’s death in custody, but it was derailed when the city’s Charter Commission requested an additional 90 days to review it, effectively pushing it past the deadline for the November ballot.
Some of the front-line proponents of defunding the police have walked back their initial demands for abolishment in the wake of the crime spike that has affected their communities and instead have begun demanding more from the officers.
In late September, Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender, who led the movement to do away with the police department, told Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo that she thinks officers were making the city less safe intentionally, the New York Post reported.
“This is not new,” Bender said. “But it is very concerning in the current context.”