4th of July Mayhem: Minneapolis mimics warzone as people shoot fireworks at cars, buildings, people

Things got more than a little out of hand in downtown Minneapolis for the 4th of July as more than 1,300 calls were taken by 911 operators reporting people shooting fireworks at cars, buildings, police officers, and each other.

Dangerous assaults weren’t the only violence to go down over the holiday weekend in the city either. Seven people were shot as crime skyrockets out of control in the deep blue city that birthed the “Defund the Police” movement.

City leaders spoke out on Tuesday concerning multiple shootings and “fireworks wars.”

Democratic Mayor Jacob Frey commented that the “recklessness and callous disregard for residents in our city put a damper on a weekend that should otherwise be celebrated.”

“This is conduct that should not be acceptable in any city,” he added during the press conference. “The kind of violence, the reckless and, in some cases, idiotic behavior we saw shouldn’t be tolerated, and let me be clear, it won’t be tolerated.”

Hundreds of people gathered at Boom Island Park and the Stone Arch Bridge where seven people were wounded in a shootout. That happened while cars sped through the Mill District shooting off fireworks at people and buildings. Then individuals got out of the cars and lit up the area doing the same thing in what can only be described as sheer chaos. When it was all said and done, at least ten people were injured in the violence.

The Minneapolis Police Department had evidently kept their numbers at normal levels not knowing what was coming. A number of residents commented that it felt as though there was no planning for the holiday after watching fireworks scream through the streets for hours.

“It built into quite a chaotic scene with fast and furious donuts in the street, cars going in excess of 60 miles per hour,” a man named Mike, who lives near Stone Arch Bridge, remarked to CBS Minnesota.

For many, crime wasn’t all that real until that night.

“[It] was the first time I was like, ‘This is crazy and could go to a really bad place,'” a neighbor named Bruce said, according to CBS Minnesota.

When officers arrived on the scene, the out-of-control groups taunted them and refused to leave.

“You’re sending [officers] in where they’re just outnumbered by droves, and that’s the concern,” Mike remarked.

Since the “Defund the Police” movement caught on in Minneapolis, police numbers are down 150 from the required minimum. Eighty officers were on duty Monday night which is a typical shift.

“The Monday of a long weekend is generally not viewed as being the most resource-intensive,” Deputy Chief Erick Fors told the media outlet.

According to Frey, officers were playing whack-a-mole with more than 1,300 calls to 911 from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m.

City Council Member Michael Rainville, who represents the neighborhood near Stone Arch Bridge, told CBS Minnesota that the city should be asking for help from the National Guard as long as police levels aren’t at full strength.

That idea was squashed by Frey who emphasized that everyone has a responsibility to improve safety, including city leadership, MPD, and people in the community.

“If you’re the parents of children that were out [Monday night] you need to know where they are,” he admonished. “If you have friends that were involved in some of this horrible conduct, you need to be setting them straight.”

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