A group of Minneapolis residents is suing the City Council for failing to provide an appropriate number of law enforcement officers per the City Charter, saying the city’s failure to do so is making their lives “unlivable.”
The complaint alleges that Mayor Jacob Frey and the Minneapolis City Council’s ideologically based push to “defund” and “disband” the city’s police department has resulted in their neighborhoods becoming more dangerous.
The eight plaintiffs live on Minneapolis’s North Side. This part of the city typically suffers from a higher instance of violent crime compared to other parts of the city. The plaintiffs say the city council’s actions are aggravating that reality.
“Every single night on any block in this neighborhood you can hear gunshots!” Cathy Spann, a North Side resident, told reporters. “Every single freaking night!”
Attorney James Dickey, who is representing the residents, said the city charter mandates a minimum of 753 officers to protect residents. The city, he said, is refusing to document how many officers are actually on the street.
Meanwhile the city attorney’s office argued the lawsuit has no standing because none of the plaintiffs have been hit by gunfire. The comment enraged residents.
“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,” resident Sondra Samuels said.
Don and Sondra Samuels, a prominent couple in North Minneapolis, explain residents' lawsuit against the city for not staffing enough police officers. (WCCO) pic.twitter.com/LxBeBpplgI
— scuffed news (@scuffed_news) October 21, 2020
One of the plaintiffs, Jon Lundberg, showed reporters a bullet that had been shot at his house. “We walked outside and I pulled this bullet out of my house. Out of my home, out of my siding,” Lundberg said.
Residents, while saying they support common-sense police reforms, blame the Minneapolis City Council’s actions to defunding police for the rise in violence.
“We’ve heard gunshots on a nightly basis, our children cannot go outside to play,” former city council member and plaintiff Don Samuels said. “We have made the emotional appeal. We have demonstrated the statistical uptick and now this is the legal action we are exercising because it seems as if the city council cannot hear us and doesn’t feel what we feel.”