A spate of gun violence in Minneapolis and neighboring cities has put Hennepin County Sheriff Dave Hutchinson on edge, and in a statement issued Tuesday he made it clear that the shooting has to stop, while also delivering a subtle reminder to local police about their responsibilities.
"It has to stop," Hutchinson said of the recent gun violence, adding: "Our communities are engaged in a dangerous spate of violence, disproportionally affecting communities of color. As a community we have enough to grieve about without compounding this with the deaths of young people lost to gunfire or experiencing life changing injuries."
There have been 111 people shot in Minneapolis since the day George Floyd was killed while in police custody on May 25, according to Minneapolis police, and that includes seven fatal shootings.
Hutchinson also said that the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office stands ready to help tackle the recent uptick in violent crime in Minneapolis, saying: "It might be easier for police, in these turbulent times, to keep a low profile and fly under the radar. But it isn’t the right thing to do."
It has been suggested by some community members in Minneapolis that police in the city have relaxed their responses since the backlash associated with the killing of Floyd, a suggestion that MPD spokesman John Elder "scoffed at" following last weekend's mass shooting in Uptown, per the Star Tribune.
“Our officers are still responding to calls, they are still addressing calls, and the fact that anybody would think that there is a stand-down order or some sort of work stoppage, that is patently false,” Elder told the newspaper.
On Tuesday, MPD 4th Precinct Inspector Kelvin Pulphus did say that resources are stretched thin and that Minneapolis cops have been prioritizing injury incidents, though reinforcements from the sheriff's office and the State Patrol could be brought in to assist.
"We are here to serve the people of this community, and we will partner with Minneapolis and the other agencies who need our help to address this outbreak of gun violence," Hutchinson confirmed.
The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office said it is prepared to offer the following services:
- We will provide patrol resources to assist Minneapolis and other cities with additional presence in areas where violence has been occurring
- We are utilizing our investigative resources to gather evidence and bring people to justice who are involved in these violent attacks
- We are providing intelligence to all of the law enforcement agencies involved, including link analyses—showing who is involved in these violent attacks and how best to disrupt them.
"It is a tough time to stand here and say we are going to make arrests when the community, rightly, has so many concerns about policing," the sheriff added. "But we can’t wait for the change before we address the violence that is plaguing our county right now.
"We will act to address the violence now, and we are asking for the support of every citizen to prevent even more heartbreak in our community."
After the mass shooting in Uptown early Sunday, there was continued violence with multiple shootings and stabbing injuries across Minneapolis, in addition to a pair of shootings outside the same bar in Crystal within 36 hours.