Politics

Minneapolis Residents Sue City For Failing To Protect Its Streets

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Minneapolis is a city in crisis. Violent crime has ‘sky-rocketed,’ and its citizens have been thrown to the wolves by a mayor and a city council who have not only failed to protect them but have sent a clear message to criminals that ‘it’s open season’ on the city’s streets.

This is the stark reality as presented by Don and Sondra Samuels and this, they told DailyMail.com, is what has driven them and six neighbors to sue the City and Mayor Jacob Frey for failing to protect and police Minneapolis.

Speaking exclusively to DailyMail.com the couple, who have lived in the city’s embattled northside for more than two decades, have described their shock at the council’s pledge to defund and ‘dismantle’ the Minneapolis Police Department.

They have recounted the violent crime and shootings that have bloomed in the vacuum left behind as police officers quit in their droves. And they have told how the city’s children are losing their lives because misguided liberals championed the disastrous notion of defunding police in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

Former City Council member, Don, 72, explained how he and his wife watched the mayhem that followed Floyd’s death under the knee of Derek Chauvin last year with growing concern.

‘We were pretty frightened and disturbed by the disrespect of the police and the institution of policing,’ he told DailyMail.com.

‘We know there are problems for sure but when they burned down the Third Precinct, for us a new watermark had been reached and it was putting our safety at risk.’

Sondra, 55, president and CEO of Northside Achievement Zone, a collaborative of nearly 30 non-profits and schools, recalled: ‘After that, the violence just started to swell – gunshots all the time, so many stories of people getting shot.

‘We need to reform policing and police, but we need an ‘and/both’ approach not an ‘either/or.’

‘So, we feel like we’re under siege and then we turn on CNN and we see nine of our 13 council people standing on a stage that has a big, “Defund” sign in front of it, taking a pledge to do away with police.’

There had been no consultation with constituents before the pledge was made and as the Samuels looked on in disbelief, they felt in their guts that what criminals heard was, ‘it’s open season.’

Don said: ‘We both looked at each other and the reason our jaws hit the floor was that we absolutely foresaw that community violence would become mayhem [and rise] to a level of outlandish proportions.’

The Samuels have lived in their expansive home for 24 years. It sits on a leafy street. A neighborhood library box stands out front. There is a children’s playground just down the road on the corner. But any sense of security is an illusion.

The house where nine-year-old Trinity Ottoson-Smith was struck by a shoot-out’s stray bullet as she played with friends is a three-minute walk away on a street that abuts the Samuels’.

The corner on which six-year-old Aniya Allen was shot dead in a similar fashion is just a few minutes further. A 19-year-old was shot just a couple of streets away the night before DailyMail.com’s visit and shots ring out in the surrounding streets at all hours.

The night before the Samuels sat down with DailyMail.com, they hosted a block club meeting – one of the first since pandemic restrictions were lifted.

Don recalled: ‘We’re sitting back there [on our deck] and we hear about 60 shots.

‘They sounded like fireworks because they were erratic ’cause usually automatic gunfire is “pop, pop, pop, pop, pop.”

‘These ones were very scattered and erratic because it was two or more guns going off at each other at the same time.’

The Samuels called the police who were already aware of the gunfire. By the time they arrived it could be heard traveling through the neighborhood, as the shooters were on the move.

Sondra tried to console the children who were there that night – an eight-year-old and a three-year-old. The older of the two was trembling and traumatized she said.

The younger looked up at her and said: ‘Sondra. Gunshots!’

‘That just broke my heart that he knows gunshots,’ she said.

But according to the Samuels they are an all too familiar sound.

Sondra’s offices have been shot up twice in recent weeks – the boarding put up over the shot-out windows is now peppered with bullet holes itself.

One of the teachers with whom she works narrowly avoided getting shot by a stray bullet in the parking lot of her school, while teachers and children were inside.

A 13-year-old girl was shot in the back, again by a stray bullet.

And where are the police and where is the outcry? The Samuels ask.

Sondra said: ‘If you are a black mother and your son is going to get murdered and you have a choice of a police officer killing your child or somebody from the community, you better choose a police officer because then people will march and rally.

‘They’ll say his name, he’ll be on T-shirts, they’ll demand justice. Nobody’s demanded justice for Trinity [Ottoson-Smith] for LaDavionne [Garrett Jr] for Aniya [Allen]. It’s just not happening.

‘Then what’s the difference, right? Two mothers are losing their children. The difference is that a white police officer in a minority of cases kills the person versus the majority of the cases where it’s community.’

In the face of this stark truth, Sondra described the move to defund the police as ‘a lack of wisdom.’

‘I’m angry about the police in terms of the George Floyds and Breonna Taylors of this world. It has to stop. We have to have transformation,’ Sondra said.

‘But what about the harm that is coming to the black community [from community violence] in terms o… (Read more)

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