Gun violence is up dramatically in Minneapolis — and the police union chief blames public scrutiny of law enforcement officers.
The city recorded 74 shooting victims through the first three months of this year, compared with just 40 during the same period last year, reported the Star Tribune.
The predominantly black North Minneapolis neighborhood has seen gun violence shoot up to 55 cases in 2016, from just 21 during the first three months of 2015.
Tensions are high between black residents and Minneapolis police after the officer-involved shooting of 24-year-old Jamar Clark, and community leaders are angry at the police response to subsequent Black Lives Matter protests — where five demonstrators were shot and wounded by white supremacists.
Lt. Bob Kroll, president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, has a simple explanation for the increase in gun violence following the 24-year-old Clark’s slaying and widespread protests.
He admits that officers have stopped doing their jobs, noted City Pages — but he blames the public for hurting their feelings with protests and criticism.
“Kroll …. blames the crime surge on a shrinking police force and greater scrutiny of police that has left some officers disengaged,” the Star Tribune reported. “The slowdown in policing has been noticeable.”
Police have made nearly half as many proactive stops this year through April 11 as they had during the same period last year — with 3,706 in 2016 versus 7,732 last year.
There has also been a dramatic dropoff in the number of traffic stops and arrests for serious crimes.
Police officials said they’re trying to get officers out of their patrol cars to do their jobs, but those efforts apparently aren’t working.
City Councilman Blong Yang, who lives on the city’s North Side, agrees that Minneapolis needs more police officers — but he also thinks those already on the payroll should get back to work.
“With all due respect, it baffles me that anyone, including police officers, can disagree with ‘greater scrutiny of the police,'” Yang said. “You should do your job and do it well, whether 800,000 eyes are watching or none. The idea of some officers disengaging is troubling.'”