The Minneapolis City Council is once again searching for a place to house officers working for the Third Police Precinct as the area endures a five-year high of shootings and increasing homicide numbers.
A deal fell apart Wednesday between the city of Minneapolis and Imagine Express over a possible lease at 2633 Minnehaha Ave.
“The two parties have reached an impasse in the negotiation process and have amicably agreed to cease lease negotiations over this property moving forward,” according to a statement issued by the city.
Fox 9 reports the deal was hurt after people threatened the building and the family of its owners.
“Minneapolis police reported that on Sept. 14, officers took a 911 call that was dispatched to the Minnehaha Avenue property stating that the west side of the building had been significantly defaced with anti-police graffiti and there was threat [sic] to ‘burn down the building,’” Fox 9 reported.
The new location would have been less than a mile from the original Third Precinct that rioters torched.
“Imagine Express has ended negotiations with the City of Minneapolis on their possible sublease of its Minnehaha Avenue property,” Jill Schmidt, director of strategy at Carmichael Lynch, a public relations firm representing Imagine Express, told The Center Square. “The company is looking at other options for the building and has no further comments to make.”
In the interim, officers have been working out of the Minneapolis Convention Center.
Minneapolis City Council members said Tuesday they were alarmed at rising violent crime across the city.
Council members asked Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo what police were doing to combat crime.
“Residents are asking, ‘Where are the police?’” Councilmember Jamal Osman said Tuesday regarding carjackings in broad daylight.
About 400 people have been shot this year – a five-year high – and 100 officers have left the department to date in 2020, up from an average of 45 separations per year.
“If we just stayed status quo right now, we will end this year with numbers that are absolutely unconscionable in community violence,” Arradondo said.
There have been nearly 60 homicides in the first nine months of 2020, outpacing 48 in 2019.
Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins said police officers have told residents around 38th and Chicago, where George Floyd was arrested, the location is a “no-go zone” for police response, and is plagued with gun violence, drug dealing and extortion.
“People are having to pay to get out of their own alleys,” Jenkins said.
Some Council members supported giving police more resources, months after voting to dismantle the department.
Council member Andrew Johnson supported the city securing a new temporary home for the Third Precinct quickly.
“They are continuing to respond to 911 calls and service the area,” Johnson said. “I don’t see any of that in conflict with our larger public safety work.”
Council member Phillipe Cunningham said he was “flabbergasted” by colleagues who advocated for dismantling the MPD months ago but now want to better fund and hire more police officers.
Cunningham supports “violence interrupters” instead of armed police.
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This article was republished with permission from The Center Square.