Group of north Minneapolis residents send letter to Gov. Walz, calling for help stemming violence

A sign outside of Sa'Lesha Beeks' home.
A sign denouncing gun violence sits in the front yard of Sa'Lesha Beeks' Brooklyn Park, Minn. home on Oct. 23, 2017.
Evan Frost | MPR News

A group of north Minneapolis residents wrote a letter to Gov. Tim Walz this week. It opened with this:

"North Minneapolis, the most diverse part of the state, is a war zone, with a child murdered, a man killed when a barbershop was shot-up in broad daylight, a school teacher executed by fully automatic gunfire, a drive by shooting across an elementary school playground with children at recess, a bus evacuated after being shot at. All this in little more than a week."

The residents asked the governor to send the state patrol or National Guard into the neighborhood to help stem recent violence.

MPR News host Cathy Wurzer talked with Deb Wagner, one of 26 residents who signed the letter. Wagner said the reinforcements wouldn't be a long-term solution, but are needed to get law and order back on the streets.

“I don’t know how they’re going to do it otherwise,” she said. “It’s going to take a long time for them to hire more cops to get us up to the numbers where our police force doesn’t feel overwhelmed.”

In a statement responding to the residents’ letter, a spokesperson for Gov. Walz said he “shares their urgency to improve public safety and meets with community leaders in North Minneapolis on this issue. However, the State Patrol and Minnesota National Guard are not a substitute for a qualified local police department.”

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