Discontent erupts in early spring violence

MPD takes possession of Civilian Review Authority


On the international scene last year, the Arab Spring brought an offensive of hope for positive change in the Middle East, led by the young and unemployed. It also brought an offensive uprising of violence and confrontation by those wanting to dash hope and prevent needed change.

Is this what’s in store for Minneapolis?

My concern is not what happens with the 21st-century Arab Spring, but rather with the Minneapolis Spring of 2012 and the disturbing pattern of developing violence (drive-by shootings, gun battles in the street, White and Black youth fighting together and against each other in and through downtown).

This is a concern for everyone, not just Blacks, not just Whites.

The frustrated and unemployed are sending a very chilling message, asking clear questions about decades of broken promises that, if continued, risk a Minneapolis Spring and Summer of dangerous discontent.

In a six-day period, from March 9 through March 14, at least 10 individuals were shot and wounded in confrontations ranging from Cedar Riverside east of downtown Minneapolis to North Minneapolis in the again-under-siege 4th precinct.

There were also shootings and stabbings in South Minneapolis. But it is that stretch from west of the city limits in North Minneapolis through downtown and almost onto the campus of the University of Minnesota that is my focus, as it signals an early and dangerous offensive of violence and threats to all citizens.

In downtown Minneapolis, in that six-day period, groups of young people disrupted traffic and the sense of security and safety along Nicollet Mall and in other parts of downtown Minneapolis. Large groups of young people beat and attacked citizens attempting to enjoy activities and the “safety” of downtown.

In North Minneapolis, as more citizens than officials want to admit to and confirm, residents are creating safe rooms to protect their children, themselves and their loved ones from what has been an epidemic of shooting into homes, shooting into cars, and shooting into people.

This is further compounded by the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department and its director recommending to the city council that the Civilian Review Authority be placed under the control of the Minneapolis Police Department and its Internal Affairs unit. All need to be included in the solutions. Exclusions lead to more failure.

A disturbing pattern seems to indicate a total disregard for an under-siege community and its citizens. The Minneapolis Star Tribune has embraced an interesting policy of benign cover-up of this early uprising of violence. The Strib reports shootings and violence four or five days after they happen.

We call your attention to a story in that newspaper last Wednesday that reported on a violent confrontation in which two African Americans, one of whom had been featured with U.S. Representative Keith Ellison just a month ago, were gunned down in their automobile by unknown shooters in cars working an obviously coordinated drive-by. Such gunmen are attempting to take control of the city of Minneapolis.

We do not speak or write lightly about this significant increase of violence with guns, knives and boots. But we have to again ask: Where is the plan to provide hope to those who send a message to City officials and others that they see no hope? (We offer our suggestions on our website.)

The community feels no one cares, and consequently they act out. That does not make it right, nor is it being endorsed in this column. But we ask about all the hundreds of millions of dollars and jobs the mayor’s administration says have been made available over the past 10 years to our communities.

The data on payouts to traditional hustlers is not encouraging. What is needed is adding to the big payouts like the Vikings stadium by spreading the wealth across the entire playing field such that everyone can sit and eat at the table of economic equality.

Instead, residents of North Minneapolis are being used to generate money for folks living outside of that community as the City has deliberately fails to hold even itself in compliance with hiring laws, sowing seeds of distrust that could lead to more violence.

The city council’s insistence that minorities be included in any stadium bill is a welcome first step. Now let the executives and officials throughout the public and private sectors do the same, and develop and publish their plans for upcoming hiring compliance.

Stay tuned.


Ron Edwards hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm, and hosts Blog Talk Radio’s “Black Focus V” on Sundays, 3-3:30 pm and Thursdays, 7-8:30 pm, providing coverage about Black Minnesota. Order his books at www.BeaconOnTheHill.com. Hear his readings and read his solution papers for community planning and development, “web log,” and archives at www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. 




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