Victims speak out, urge Walz to stop ignoring crime

"The time for us to be ignored is over," said one of the victims.

Background: The suspect vehicle from an attempted carjacking in Edina last week; right: The victim of this carjacking, Jessie, speaks at a meeting Tuesday night (Steve Taylor/Facebook)

Hundreds of Minnesotans from across the metro gathered in Edina Tuesday night to take a stand after nearly two years of unrelenting crime.

Several victims spoke at the community meeting and specifically called out Gov. Tim Walz, who they said has failed to acknowledge that “this is a statewide problem that needs resources.”

“It doesn’t matter what your political affiliation is. When they rob your home, they don’t care what you are. When they carjack you, they don’t care what you are. So we have to all work together,” said Julie Wicklund, the victim of a recent armed home invasion in Minneapolis.

She also called for changes to Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines, which are controlled by the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission. That body is currently considering a measure that would eliminate the practice of giving stronger sentences to criminals who commit crimes while on probation or parole.

Wicklund criticized the Minneapolis City Council for banning the use of facial recognition software, which she believes has made it harder for police to do their jobs.

“So we need action. These things have to be addressed immediately and they have to be changed,” she said. “The police are working their tails off in Minneapolis and everywhere else to bring these people in and they just keep getting let out. It has to stop.”

The meeting was called after a recent string of attempted carjackings in Edina and St. Louis Park.

“Our town, and our neighboring towns, have had their security and serenity under attack from mobile criminals who are coming into Edina and other nearby communities to steal private property and in some cases injuring people who resist or assist a victim,” Edina Mayor Jim Hovland said in response.

One of the victims of these crimes, Jessie, spoke at Tuesday’s meeting, sporting a black eye.

“I’m here so that you can see me. I’m here so that you can hear my voice and that you can understand that this didn’t happen to me, this didn’t happen to Julie, this happened to every single one in this room,” she said.

Jessie said she was “attacked by four individuals” Thursday in the parking lot of a Lunds & Byerlys in Edina. Two of them attempted to steal her vehicle but the attack was thwarted by several Good Samaritans.

“The time for us to be ignored is over,” she said. “We’ve watched two years of an inflating crime rate go through the roof. We are being terrorized in our homes, in our cars and in our everyday lives.”

The full meeting was livestreamed by Steve Taylor and can be watched here.