Minneapolis Police have arrested more than a dozen suspected gang members involved in a string of violent robberies and beatings in the downtown area.
The most graphic of the incidents took place on August 3 near Target Field where an intoxicated male was repeatedly punched, kicked, and even run over by a bike. They stripped the victim of his pants in broad daylight while one suspect threw a potted plant at his head and another robbed him of his wallet.
The same group of men were involved in at least two other robberies in the same area. Their strategy was to target drunken men and rob them of their wallets and cellphones—a crime that carries a high sentence and a low payoff.
According to Daily Mail, police arrested more than 16 suspects believed to be members of a gang during a three-day sting operation two weeks ago. The suspects range in age from 13-25 and at least one faces up to 20 years in prison for first-degree aggravated robbery if convicted.
Reports from local media claim that robberies are up 53 percent in the downtown area this year after 47 people were attacked during a 20-day stretch in August.
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.
“By midnight the place is almost empty because people are trying to get out of dodge. It’s the wild, wild west out here,” one said.
“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. We’re tired of it,” another added.
One business owner, Gavin Rydell of Infinite Vapor, posted a video of a shooting on Hennepin Avenue along with a message for the Minneapolis City Council.
“Thank you Minneapolis City Council for focusing on bike lanes, banning e-cig flavors, raising wages to a point that businesses will eventually fail, you guys are about the worst policy makers in the country,” he said. “I am adding a video of what happens in Minneapolis every single weekend. The media doesn’t cover it, the state doesn’t talk about it. Minneapolis after dark is one of the most dangerous [cities] there is.”
Meanwhile, police chiefs of both the Minneapolis Police Department and St. Paul Police Department are pleading for more sworn officers. During his recent budget address, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey requested funds for 14 additional law enforcement officers, despite Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo’s request for 400 new officers by 2025.
“Quite frankly, we are at a point of crisis, in terms of public safety, and men and women joining this very honorable profession,” Arradondo said in August.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo “Minneapolis Gang Members” by ThisIsButter.