MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A Minneapolis community is looking for answers tonight after another person is murdered, and young people want a seat at the table when discussing solutions.
Officers were called to the scene on Aldrich Avenue Friday night after reports of gunfire. They found a man shot outside of a home who was taken to a hospital and later died. On Saturday the Minneapolis police chief Medaria Arradondo turned to the community to help stop the violence.
“The truth is we got too many people dying in our city,” said Arradondo.
The police chief talked to a group of young people to allow their input on community violence, public safety and police reform.
“I’m terrified about what’s going on in our city because I see a conversation around public safety, but yet I do not see enough of our faces in that conversation,” said Young People Task Force Co-chair Al Flowers Jr.
Flowers Jr. led the charge in getting his peers, between the ages of 13 to 28, to speak up and out about what’s not happening in their community. The biggest concern for members of the Task Force is their voices are not being heard.
“We want to be able to come up with solutions and come up with preventative measures so that we can help be part of the solution, so that we can help change the narrative of what’s going on in this city,” said Flowers Jr.
The young people’s task force is an arm of the Unity in Community Mediation Team that reignited a memorandum of agreement signed back in 2003. The agreement covers accountability of officers, complaints and discipline process, use of force, and diversifying the workforce.
Their group said they want to see more involvement, mentorship from elders, and help to establish a community center where young people can go instead of the streets.
“We got to get to the root of the problem as to why as I stand before you at Shiloh [Temple] and we have a $180,000 dollar crime stopper reward for three babies and we don’t have anybody in custody,” said Arradondo.
The police chief believes the community must work together with police to address issues that are directly impacting everyone.
“85% of the victims of gunshot violence look like us, also 85% of the people who are perpetrating those crimes look like us. So we can continue and we must have the conversation about police accountability and I have to lead that charge on that,” said Arradondo. “But I’m telling you now, the biggest threat to public safety in our city, specifically in the African American community, it ain’t somebody who is wearing this uniform.”
The young people said they know many of the victims and some of the perpetrators of violence, but they want other youth to help be the change the community needs.
“Speak up about police brutality, systematic racism, and if you see crime happening speak up. Don’t be afraid to tell what happened because we need to catch those people who do the crimes,” said 13-year-old task force member LaZya Smith.
The shooting on Friday evening was Minneapolis’s 73rd homicide this year.