MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Some Black activists are calling-out city leadership for the recent uptick in crime in Minneapolis.

Marea Perry lost her son to gun violence in 2019. She was one of several speakers outside of Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey’s office Thursday, demanding that city leaders step up their response to a rise in violence.

“Until you are impacted by that I don’t think you will ever understand,” she said. “We are asking for your help.”

Specifically, activists focused on the shootings and murders in North Minneapolis, and what they call a lack of police response.

“Treat us as equal human beings under the law who pay your salary. When we are in harm or there is something taking place, there is no one else for us to call,” Raeisha Williams, with Guns Down Love Up, said.

A spokesperson for the Mayor said, in part, “Mayor Frey and Chief Arradondo have outlined clear and concrete steps to effectively address gun violence while responding to staffing challenges within the department.”

Among them, Frey has said officers in the Minneapolis Police Department have been reassigned to fill gaps in the department. The city also launched a violence interrupter initiative that does not involve police, aimed at stopping crime before it happens.

The community activists say it’s not enough, and want more youth programming and economic opportunity for Northside residents.

“If you want safety and peace, invest in the human beings that make it safe,” CAIR-Minnesota’s Jaylani Hussein said.

Williams is asking the Minneapolis City Council to defund the police, by re-allocating money to be used for community-crime prevention intiatives.

Frey’s budget proposes adding three recruit classes in 2021.

There will be a town hall at Zion Baptist Church in Minneapolis next Thursday at 7 p.m. The activists say they’ll talk about community violence and will invite city leaders to the discussion.

Kate Raddatz

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