It was standing-room only for a Minnetonka City Council meeting Monday night as residents rallied around a mother and her 13-year-old son who were carjacked and assaulted in broad daylight in their driveway last month.
Craig Beason put out a call to action last week ahead of the meeting, telling Alpha News that “getting voters to show up in numbers is the only way we are going to impact change.”
Beason’s wife had just returned home from grocery shopping on Aug. 17 around 10:50 a.m. when she was carjacked by a group of young men. Her 13-year-old son was also attacked as he called 911. Charges have been filed against Romell Roshode Lewis, who is described as a “serious risk to public safety” and appears to have “chosen and followed” Beason’s wife back to her home. Lewis has been charged under Minnesota’s enhanced carjacking penalties. At least four suspects were involved in the carjacking.
“The reason I’m here is because we’re tired of this. We’re tired of the crime, not just in Minnetonka but in the metro area and I think I want to know what we can do to invoke change. How can we change this?” Beason told the council Monday night.
“I’ve heard that the DA does not believe in charging these individuals. I know we have a broken juvenile system,” he said. “What can we in the room do? Because this could’ve happened to anyone in the room.
“It’s got to be beyond just making a change at the ballot box. It can’t just be that. It has to be more that has to be done,” Beason added.
Nearly 20 other residents addressed the council with their concerns about crime, including one who said his family moved to Minnetonka from Minneapolis in December and wants “to keep it a place that can be a lifeboat, frankly, from the problems experienced in the inner city.”
“Until we have prosecutors and county attorneys who are going to prosecute the criminals, nothing’s going to change. I think people better wake up to that when they vote,” said another resident, referring to Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty, who was tacitly referenced throughout the night.
A female resident expressed concern about a string of assaults on women in Minnetonka and Roseville last month.
“I’ve lived here for over 20 years. As a female, things have changed over the last few years and I have a feeling I never had before, which is fear,” she said.
Another speaker urged residents to pay more attention to local elections.
“Juvenile justice was on the platform of our current county attorney’s race [last] year. If people had taken the time to look at the candidates, and look at their positions, you know, I think our county attorney is following through with what she said,” the resident commented. “I do think it’s time for the citizens of Hennepin County to take a look at our elected officials.”
The council didn’t take any action Monday night but indicated it would be organizing a townhall discussion in the future.
“The number one job that I have is to ensure that my residents feel safe and if you don’t feel safe, then I’m not doing my job and I take that personally,” said Mayor Brad Wiersum. “So I truly care about the crime issue.”