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Drive-by police response riles council member

Posted by: Eric Roper Updated: May 12, 2014 - 5:05 PM

Council Member Andrew Johnson expressed outrage this weekend over what he feels was an overly casual police response to a North Side drive-by shooting.

Johnson wrote in a Facebook post, accompanied by a photo of a bullet casing (right), that he was helping build affordable housing in north Minneapolis Saturday when a drive-by shooting occurred a few homes away. He said in an interview that it occured at approximately 22nd Avenue and Colfax Avenue.

Police arrived six to eight minutes later, he said, in a slow-moving squad car without lights flashing.

"The officer who showed up chatted with some witnesses, then I asked why he was the only one there and why there didn't seem to be a strong sense of urgency," wrote Johnson, who was elected this fall to represent Minneapolis' south-easternmost ward.

"He said 'well, there were no victims.' Excuse me? Tell that to the grandma whose grandchildren had to 'hit the floor', little 3 and 4 year olds. Tell that to the man who was shot at. The neighbors in the crossfire," Johnson wrote. Another squad car showed up several minutes later, he said.

"“If there was a drive-by shooting on my block, I would not have expected that response," Johnson elaborated in an interview.

“It’s not a victimless crime," he said. "The whole community’s a victim, the neighborhood’s a victim. All those folks on the block who were there are victims. Bullets are flying around.”

Johnson wrote that, by comparison, three squad cars arrived within 45 seconds when someone entered his yard in the Longfellow neighborhood late at night three years ago.

"They had an incredible sense of urgency," Johnson wrote. "I felt great about the police response over here on the Southside. Can't say the same about the response to bullets flying around children and families on the Northside....We have so much work to do."

He added in an interview: “We can’t rest until everyone can say that they had a great response when they call 911.”

Last August, city council candidate Ian Alexander posted a similar photo on Twitter after waking in the middle of the night to the sound of gunshots.

A spokesman for MPD said he would need to inquire about the incident before responding.

Police spokesman John Elder released the following statement regarding the incident:

“The Minneapolis Police Department takes calls for service, and reports of crime very seriously in every area of the City.  

The call was dispatched to our squads at 12:42 pm, and the first squad arrived at 12:45 pm.  There was a second squad in the area within a few minutes.  

We look forward to continuing our work with all of our stakeholders within the City as we move forward in assuring that Minneapolis is a safe city.”

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