MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — For several months, people who live in the Jordan neighborhood in north Minneapolis have been asking for more police protection. Cathy Spann is one of those residents.
“Every single night on any block in this neighborhood you can hear gunshots!” Spann said. “Every single freaking night!”
Spann and seven other residents have sued the city of Minneapolis, and they had their day in court Monday, where a judge heard their pleas for help. Attorney James Dickey is representing the residents.
“We didn’t get anything we think from the city, and their affidavits they provided or today in court that would actually indicate that they have enough police on the force to keep Minneapolis safe, according to the city charter,” Dickey said.
According to Dickey, the city charter says a minimum of 753 officers is needed to protect residents. He says the city would not say how many officers are actually on the street.
Former city council member Don Samuels and his wife Sondra are among the residents being represented by Dickey.
“There’s some obfuscation and some disagreement as to what that number is, and we believe that part of the apathy of the city is an unwillingness to look itself … in the mirror and say, ‘What do we look like? What do we have and what do we need?’” Don Samuels said.
The Samuels say they were offended when the city attorneys told the judge the lawsuit has no standing because none of the plaintiffs have been hit by gunfire.
“To get standing we need to take a bullet, right? We’ve seen our neighbors take bullets. We know the 20 year old, we know the six month old who’s in the car when her mom gets shot up,” Sondra Samuels said.
They blame the Minneapolis City Council’s talk of defunding police for the rise in violence. Resident Jon Lundberg is one of the plaintiffs.
“We walked outside and I pulled this bullet out of my house. Out of my home, out of my siding,” Lundberg said.
Residents say they support police reform, but they also need protection from the criminal element invading the city.
“It is about all of us coming together to make a difference to stop the gun violence that is in our city,” Spann said.
The Minneapolis City Attorney’s office says it’s vigorously defending the city in this lawsuit, and is confident city leaders have met their obligations as required by the city charter.
The judge now has up to 90 days to make a decision.