The Minneapolis gun violence for 2020 has already passed annual totals for eight of the past 10 years as the city struggles to cope with fierce unrest in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death.
Violent crime in the city tends to hit its highest levels for the year in the summer, but police data shows that the level of gun violence saw a massive spike following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody on May 25. More than 80% of the victims of gun violence in the city this year are black, according to The Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Riots broke out in Minneapolis and nearby St. Paul after cell phone video of Floyd’s May 25 arrest circulated online showing a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. The officer, Derek Chauvin, was fired shortly after and is facing charges of murder and manslaughter. Three other officers involved were also fired and charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.
Police data on shootings reviewed by The Star Tribune show that by July 20, the number of shooting victims in Minneapolis reached 269, equaling the total number of shooting victims for all of last year. The number of homicides in the city is about 60% higher than it was at this time last year.
Rioters in Minneapolis and St. Paul set fire to hundreds of buildings, looted businesses, and assaulted residents. The damage caused in the Twin Cities area is estimated to be around $500 million, which would make it the second-costliest outbreak of civil unrest in U.S. history behind the 1992 riots in Los Angeles.
Minnesota requested federal funds from the Trump administration to offset the cost of rebuilding the metropolitan area. President Trump denied the request and has blamed the state’s elected officials for not acting swiftly against the rioters and mitigating damage.
“The Governor is disappointed that the federal government declined his request for financial support,” Democratic Gov. Tim Walz’s office said in a statement. “As we navigate one of the most difficult periods in our state’s history, we look for support from our federal government to help us through.”
As violence spikes, Minneapolis city officials are moving on an anti-police agenda pushed by radical members of the social justice protests. On Friday, the city council approved the first significant cut to its police department since Floyd’s death.
The council voted to strip police of $1.5 million, which amounts to roughly 1% of the current police budget, and promised to approve deeper cuts in the future. The cuts to law enforcement were part of a larger bill to offset city expenses driven by the coronavirus pandemic.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, who has broken with the city council and said he does not support a complete defunding of the police, said he will approve the initial cut to the police budget and push for more “structural” change to the city’s law enforcement next year.
“The 2021 budget is the appropriate budget for deeper structural change, and that will be the direction for the budget I propose,” Frey said. “It will include a well-thought-out vision for MPD.”