A downtown Minneapolis business owner took to Facebook on Thursday morning to rail on the four Minneapolis City Council members who scrapped a plan to submit a federal grant application that would have been used to fund additional police officers calling the council members “reckless, irresponsible and flat out dangerous for our city.”
“Minneapolis deserves much, much better than what we’ve elected,” Jay Ettinger posted. Ettinger, who is Realtor and part-owner of the Pourhouse in downtown Minneapolis, went on to say that no matter what people’s politics are, “nothing is more important than public safety,” and he noted the “alarming” rise in crime in 2019, as well as the upward trend continuing into this year.
An agenda published earlier this week for the Public Safety & Emergency Management committee of the City Council indicated that the committee was considering authorizing the submittal of a grant application to the US Dept. of Justice asking for a nearly $1.3 million dollar grant to fund the hiring of 10 new officers over three years to support the city’s Vision Zero resolution – an initiative to eliminate traffic deaths through street design, traffic enforcement and data-driven strategies.
However, four members of the committee voted to quash the idea during a meeting on Tuesday. The four members who voted against submitting the grant application were Steve Fletcher, Alondra Cano, Phillipe Cunningham and Jeremiah Ellison. The four represent some of the highest crime areas of Minneapolis including the North Loop and Downtown East/West (Fletcher), Midtown, East Phillips and Powderhorn (Cano), and north Minneapolis (Cunningham and Ellison).
Fletcher, who has long opposed increasing police staffing in Minneapolis, said of his reasoning for the decision to block the request that he worried that the allure of federal grant money could lead to unnecessarily growing the police force, according to a report following the vote.
Ettinger, who spoke out last August after reports started coming out about a spike in violent crime downtown and after there had been several reports of unprovoked group attacks on lone males, referenced comments he made at that time stating that “Steve Fletcher… [is] more dangerous for the city of Minneapolis than the criminals walking the streets.”
Ettinger also said last August that the city Council was more concerned about protecting the rights of criminals than the safety of law abiding citizens, and he said in his Facebook post Thursday that he stands by those statements “even stronger today” than when he originally said them.
Ettinger also referenced in his post the over 6,000 “priority one” 911 calls that had gone without immediate police response over a year period from July 2018 through June 2019 and the hundreds of days of consecutive gunfire in certain neighborhoods that are all but ignored by local media.
Ettinger indicated his support for Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo’s request last year for 400 more officers stating that it would “strengthen the department so it could run efficiently and smoothly so we could avoid stretching what little resources we have which are far below what a growing city like ours needs and calls for.”
Finishing with a scathing rebuke of the four council members, Ettinger said, “Steve Fletcher, Jeremiah Ellison, Alejandro Cano and Phillippe Cunningham are playing politics with all of our lives and we all deserve better.”
“They already have blood on their hands,” he said, “and the way things are trending this Spring and Summer they’re going to have a lot more. We need to come together and force them out of office.”
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Minnesota Crime Watch & Information publishes news, info and commentary about crime, public safety and livability issues in Minneapolis, the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota.