Extra police patrols in north Minneapolis this weekend

On patrol
Minneapolis police Sgt. Jeff Carter on patrol in north Minneapolis on Mar. 12, 2015. The area will be subject to increased police patrols this weekend.
Jennifer Simonson | MPR News file

Minneapolis police officers patrolling the city's north side will get a boost from other law enforcement officers this weekend.

For the last several years, officers from the Metro Transit Police Department, the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office and the State Patrol have worked side-by-side with Minneapolis officers during the warm weather months.

The north side has seen a dramatic increase in the number of shootings compared to this time last year. Nearly 100 people have been wounded in north Minneapolis this year, compared to 35 hit by gunfire at this time in 2015.

Assistant police chief Kris Arneson said some of that is due to conflicts between gang members, who often post videos on social media sites geared at taunting their rivals.

"The videos tend to be focused at whoever they're angry at or the other gang and so that tends to fuel their passions and violence," said Arneson.

Earlier this week, the Hennepin County Attorney's Office filed criminal charges against four suspected gang members believed to have been using social media to threaten members of a rival gang. Prosecutors say the four men are part of the Tre Tre gang in north Minneapolis.

According to the charges, videos posted online in January show the men holding guns, flashing gang signs and threatening to shoot members of rival gang Skitz Squad.

The four men — ages 18, 18, 19 and 20 — face charges of making terroristic threats, and three of the men are charged with illegally possessing weapons.

Arneson said police are also using their enhanced presence in north Minneapolis to engage with members of the community during social activities. She said there will be officers out in the parks and playgrounds all summer long.

"Those officers go out and play basketball with kids and hand out ice cream and fix bikes, and once in a while they give away bike supplies or bikes," said Arneson. "That's really building for the future."