Minneapolis police union: Shootings will ‘continue’ because officers lack support to do ‘basic police work’

A board member for the Minneapolis Police Federation told members of the city council that they shouldn’t expect the recent uptick in gun violence to subside anytime soon.

Three members of the police union told Minnesota Public Radio that officers do not feel supported by city officials or members of the council following the death of George Floyd. They said that officers will not put themselves in tough positions to reduce gun violence when they do not have the support of the city.

“Officers are not going to put themselves out there to get the proactive stops to get the guns off the street. Because they don’t feel supported, after the fact,” said Sgt. Sherral Schmidt, union vice president.

Minneapolis has seen more than 100 shootings since Floyd’s death on Memorial Day. On Saturday, 11 people were shot and one was killed in the city’s largest shooting in recent history. Union President Bob Kroll said the city’s lawlessness is a “snapshot” of what will happen if the city council makes good on its promise to dismantle the police department.

“The crime that you’re seeing right now — this uptick in crime — is a preview of what you’d see if they actually go forward with this defund the police,” Kroll said. “This is a snapshot.”

The Minneapolis City Council has agreed to work to disband the police department following Floyd’s death. Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died after a Minneapolis officer knelt on his neck for several minutes during an arrest. Council President Lisa Bender said the goal is to create a “police-free future.”

Sgt. Anna Hedberg, a board member for the Minneapolis Police Federation, said many officers have quit the department because of the council’s response to Floyd’s death. She said the city’s gun violence problem won’t be addressed until officers feel supported.

“So if we don’t have the support to do the basic police work — finding the guns and getting them off the street — it’s going to continue,” Hedberg said, later adding, “Because right now, [officers] don’t feel like they have the support from city politicians or state politicians and it really makes the job difficult.”

City Councilman Steve Fletcher said that he does not believe the police union has done enough to address wrongdoing and that the city cannot work with them until that happens.

“What I heard was someone who couldn’t say that what happened to George Floyd was bad, he said what happened to George Floyd looked bad,” Fletcher said of Kroll. “If we can’t even start from that place, we really don’t have a set of common values to work with.”

*story by The Washington Examiner