The National Police Association (NPA) is calling on the city of Minneapolis to attend to its residents who live in or near the “autonomous zone” located at George Floyd Square.
“What the neighbors are saying, in the residential area, is that after darkness falls, criminals are using it to freely commit crimes, deal drugs, things like that, and they’re extremely frustrated,” NPA spokeswoman Betsy Brantner Smith, a retired sergeant, said in an interview with Fox News.
A resident who lives in the “no-go zone” recently spoke out about the violence occurring on her street, writing that she and her fiancé are now “grappling with the fact” that they “own and live in a house in the middle of an autonomous zone with no end in sight.”
Smith told Fox News that activists have been camping out across six city blocks surrounding East 38th Street and Chicago Avenue, where “no white people” are allowed under a rule the zone created, she said. It’s unclear if the rule is followed, though, since it appears to be two white people who chased a reporter out of the zone last week.
“There are businesses especially near the Third Precinct — that was allowed to burn down — that get robbed by the same people two to three times a week. There are citizens who just can’t get police services,” Smith said.
The area has been a magnet for violence since last summer, Smith noted, pointing to the homicide that happened just this month. The no-go zone has had at least four homicides since last summer.
Law enforcement officers are often not allowed to enter even when violence occurs.
“The police are literally barricaded from going in there,” Smith told Fox News.
NPA filed an amicus brief in February with the Hennepin County District Court in support of Minneapolis residents who sued the city. The brief demands that Minneapolis maintain the required number of officers on its police force as outlined by the City Charter. Currently, the MPD is about 100 officers short of what the charter requires, according to NPA.
“Whether a person believes more police officers will reduce crime or not, having a force that cannot respond because of the lack of numbers in relationship to the population will not serve the public,” the brief reads.