Business Owners Speak Out on Violence in Minneapolis: ‘It’s the Wild, Wild West’


Business owners in downtown Minneapolis are speaking out on the wave of violent crimes hitting the area and the overall “decline” of the bustling city.

WCCO recently interviewed the owners of several prominent Minneapolis establishments, who said that the city turns into a ghost town around midnight because people are concerned for their safety.

“By midnight the place is almost empty because people are trying to get out of dodge,” said Jay Ettinger, part-owner of The Pourhouse. “It’s the wild, wild west out here.”

Tim Mahoney, part-owner of The Loon Cafe, said that what he’s “watched over the last seven years is just the decline of downtown Minneapolis.”

“We’re tired of the violence down here. We’re tired of people getting beat up. We’re tired of people being robbed. We’re tired of people being shot,” he added. “We’re tired of it.”

Mahoney pointed to the shortage of police officers as part of the issue. As The Minnesota Sun reported in December, the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association revealed that the state was experiencing a “crisis” level shortfall of officers.

“Quite frankly, we are at a point of crisis, in terms of public safety, and men and women joining this very honorable profession,” said Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo.

Minneapolis’ Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, nicknamed “little Mogadishu,” saw a 50 percent increase in violent crimes in 2018, which authorities attributed to Somali gang activity.

A recent report from Alpha News offered a detailed picture of Somali gang violence in Minneapolis and said that court documents revealed “seemingly unchecked gang retaliation” in the city.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman recently announced charges against Demilo Martin for a July 13 shooting at Crave American Kitchen. The incident was believed to be a gang relation shooting that stemmed from a June 15 gunfight in which at least 50 shots were fired, according to a press release.

Alpha News notes that in late July two University of Minnesota students were hit by stray gunfire while waiting for an Uber in Minneapolis after 1 a.m.

“Downtown is getting a little crazy,” said Kristen Hicks, bar manager of The 508 Bar & Restaurant. “There’s a lot of violence out here. One of my security guards was actually shot.”

“That’s the problem,” Ettinger added. “It’s not the people that are taking part in commerce that are causing these problems. It’s the predators on the street that are waiting for them.”

Ettinger said that he and his colleagues would like to see “an attitude that this is not going to be tolerated down here.”

“We’ve been trying for years to get someone to do something for us,” Mahoney said. “All it takes is one person to step up and say we’re not going to do this anymore.”

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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to







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3 Thoughts to “Business Owners Speak Out on Violence in Minneapolis: ‘It’s the Wild, Wild West’”

  1. […] As The Minnesota Sun reported, a number of business owners in Minneapolis spoke out in August on the rise in violent crimes in downtown Minneapolis. They claimed that Minneapolis turns into a ghost town at night because people are concerned for their safety. […]

  2. […] He went on to claim that “downtown Minneapolis is in disarray,” a sentiment that a number of prominent local business owners have expressed. […]

  3. […] As The Minnesota Sun reported, local business owners aren’t pleased with the situation. Several prominent businessmen and women spoke out on the rise in crime in an August interview with WCCO. […]