The Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) had just 80-plus officers on duty Monday night to respond to the city’s more than 1,300 9-1-1 calls.
The city was besieged by violence when the sun went down on Independence Day. Fireworks were launched at people and homes and up to 12 people were injured by gunfire.
Interim Police Chief Amelia Huffman said the city received over 1,300 9-1-1 calls from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. The MPD typically handles that many emergency calls within a 24-hour period.
During a Tuesday press conference, Mayor Jacob Frey called for gun reform, saying guns were a “common denominator.”
“Guns make a difficult situation treacherous. The fact that (political) parties cannot rally around the obvious — which is we need to restrict these unlimited gun sales that have consistently gone out to the general public and then illegal gun sales from there. It’s getting ridiculous,” Frey said.
According to the mayor, guns are coming into the city “by the trunk-load.”
In addition to guns, Huffman said residents shot fireworks at officers.
“It’s difficult to engage with a group when they’re shooting fireworks at you, and to do so in a safe manner,” Minneapolis Deputy Police Chief Erick Fors said.
The 80-plus MPD officers who were on duty not only responded to calls along the river-front area but to other calls as well — medical emergencies, domestic abuse, fights, and overdoses.
While witnesses on social media reported the police response was slow, Huffman said officers typically arrived on scene within minutes. She noted several situations required six to eight squad cars. Many times first responders were required to stay at these locations for two to three hours.
Huffman told the press in an effort to restore order in the city, MPD was forced to hold all mid-shift officers and bring every single response car downtown.
Although a recent court decision will require the city to employ at least 730 officers, as of June 18, the MPD employs only 564 active officers. This number is well below the 888 officers the mayor and police department hoped to have employed, according to court documents. Huffman said the city is relying on voluntary overtime to boost resources.
“We are absolutely not satisfied with current staffing levels,” Huffman said.
— CrimeWatchMpls (@CrimeWatchMpls) July 6, 2022
Boom Island shooting
Numerous calls were related to people shooting fireworks at apartment buildings and a shooting at Boom Island Park, which left several in critical condition.
Minneapolis Park Police initially said eight people were shot after gunfire broke out at Boom Island Monday night. Park police later corrected their statement to say seven people were injured.
“After further investigation, it appears there were seven victims wounded by gunshot. The eighth victim reported earlier is believed to be from a separate incident but the individual arrived at the hospital at approximately the same time as those from the Boom Island shooting,” police told Alpha News.
The seven victims include: two 17-year-old males who were treated and released; a 17-year-old female who was admitted for treatment; two 18-year-old males in serious condition; an 18-year-old female in serious condition; and a 22-year-old male admitted for treatment.
Thirteen Minneapolis Park Police officers, two park agents and 20 MPD personnel responded to the shooting. Minneapolis Park Police said there was no formal Fourth of July event scheduled at Boom Island. Because these gatherings were unsanctioned, MPD did not bolster staff.
“In terms of a long Fourth of July weekend, the Monday of a long weekend is generally not viewed as being the most resource intensive for that,” said Fors.
Police have reported one arrest from the night related to an officer who was assaulted and suffered minor injuries.