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Police, Community Activists Gather To Find Solution To Gun Violence

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The 4th Precinct was a place of tension just five months ago when protesters occupied the area for nearly three weeks. On Saturday, it was a place for peace with a community-organized barbecue across the street.

"We need people to work with the police, we need the police to work with the community," Sheila Scott, who lives in north Minneapolis' Lind-Bohanon neighborhood, said.

The barbecue was originally organized to support Minneapolis Police Inspector Michael Friestleben, who's well-known for his work in north Minneapolis. He was placed on paid administrative leave by the department this week for what Chief Janee Harteau said was a personnel matter. But after a violent week of shootings, the organizers decided to also open up discussion of the violence and how to address it.

"We're talking about poverty, we're talking about unhealthy relationships, we're talking about mental health issues and we're also talking about guns," president of the outreach group Men Against Destruction-Defending Against Drugs and Social-Disorder (MAD DADS) VJ Smith said.

A man was killed in a shooting near 27th and Knox Avenue North early Saturday, just three days after another man also died when gang members opened fire in North Minneapolis. On Thursday, a young girl was hit by a stray bullet while she was sleeping in her bed.

Smith says more needs to be done to prevent guns from getting into the wrong hands.

"They're kicking off thirty, forty rounds in our community," Smith said. "That's too many."

The Minneapolis Police Department announced they had increased patrols on the north side to seven days a week. Special teams including Violent Crime investigators, the Safe Street Task Force and Weapons Unit are all working together to solve and prevent crime.

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