A group of Minneapolis residents, tired of of the crime and violence in the city are suing the City Council for a lack of police presence after leaders voted to defund the police earlier this year, Fox 9 reports.
The lawsuit claims the city has allowed the number of MPD officers to dip below the minimum staffing level dictated by the city charter.
The plaintiffs are asking the court to prevent the City Council from further defunding the police department and compel the city to hire more officers to fill in for those who’ve left.
The lawsuit claims the council’s push to defund the Police Department has led to a wave of officers now seeking retirement and medical leaves. The residents claim the lack of officers has made their neighborhoods dangerous.
“We are here because of people’s safety,” said Cathy Spann, a community activist. “We want law and order. We want reform. But we are in this city to say, enough is enough.”
Former Councilor Don Samuels and his wife say children can’t go outside right now as violent crimes including shootings, carjackings and murders have increased since the death of George Floyd.
“We have made the emotional appeal,” Samuels said. “We have demonstrated the statistical uptick and now this is the legal action we are exercising because it seems as if the City Council cannot hear us and doesn’t feel what we feel.”
The residents believe the MPD has fallen below the minimum thresholds required in the city’s charter.
“We simply want to have enough police on the streets to keep Minneapolis safe,” said James Dickey, an attorney.
The city and its attorneys responded to the lawsuit saying it should be dismissed and insist the city has a sufficient number of law enforcement officers for its current population.
“This is like all they are focused on is having a reimagined police department while we’re focused on staying alive,” said Sondra Samuels, a petitioner.
The judge heard arguments on Monday and has 90 days to issue a ruling.