Minneapolis residents have taken matters into their own hands during the ongoing riots and the persistent campaigns to defund the police. Armed residents are patrolling the streets to keep criminals at bay and protect businesses from looters. Some residents have erected barricades to keep strangers away. Minneapolis Police Department supports the idea of citizens complementing law enforcement efforts in keeping the city safe.
MPD however, warned the residents against adopting vigilante-style conduct. The police department also reiterated that it was still in charge of security despite the calls to defund the police.
“We have long supported neighborhood patrols. All laws must be obeyed by those engaging in these patrols,” MPD police spokesperson, John Elder, said in an interview with the WSJ. “We have been clear these are in supplement to the police department and not as a substitute.”
Some armed security groups said they have been fired upon while patrolling the streets.
“We were fired on,” said Jamil Jackson, the leader of Minnesota Freedom Fighters, “but we weren’t going to return fire into a dark street.”
Armed citizens' initiatives will be necessary after the full effects of the recently announced police budget cuts hit the city. Some residents say they are reluctant to call the police because they do not show any effort in preventing crime. Police officers say they are afraid of enforcing the law to avoid community backlash.
The city voted to cut the budget by $10 billion, which will affect critical areas such as the hiring of new officers. The city already diverted $1.5 million from law enforcement to other community-based projects. Initially, the city proposed to support community-based security initiatives, but the idea did not receive enough support. The proposal sought to provide equipment to civilian security groups.
Most cities have witnessed an uptick in crimes since Black Lives Matter protests started after the killing of George Floyd, an African American who died in the hands of a white police officer, Derek Chauvin. The ensuing riots have led to the wanton destruction of over 1,500 buildings and losses of up to $500 million in the Twin Cities metropolitan areas.
The rise in gun-related crime has also hit the community hard, with 80% of the victims being African Americans. Similarly, most of the businesses affected by riots are minority-owned small enterprises, which were already suffering from coronavirus related restrictions.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz requested Trump to send funds to rebuild the city, but Trump declined the request. Trump said he was disappointed in the local government’s response to the violence taking place in the area.
Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is pushing universal background checks in our state, and if left unchecked, it will not be long until we see bills like this getting traction in Austin. Texas is embarrassingly ranked 29th for gun rights, and with the help of the political elites in Austin, we will surely rank among New York, California, and Illinois if left to their own devices. Please join our fight today, and help us restore Texas' place as the standard for the U.S.
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