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MPD, FBI, ATF Joining Forces To Crack Down On 'George Floyd Square' Crime

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A partnership between Minneapolis Police, the FBI and the ATF is underway to stop criminal activity in the area of East 38th and Chicago Avenue in the Powderhorn neighborhood.

That area, known as George Floyd Square, has been barricaded off from traffic since he died there last May. This action is in direct response to the violence that is happening behind the barricades at the intersection. Homeowners and business owner have complained about the shootings in the area.

Some say they feel like they are being held hostage in their own neighborhood. A homeowner living near the intersection, who asked we conceal her identity, is thankful police are taking action.

"I want people to be safe to walk anywhere in this area," she said. "And I think it's a time now for peace and healing."

Even police officers and EMS are challenged when responding to calls for help in the area; most of the time they are not allowed in. The hope is this targeted enforcement will bring about an end to the violence.

"If you make the choice to commit violence or engage in criminal behavior in and around 38th and Chicago, you will be our primary focus," Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said. "We will bring all legal resources and tools to bear to disrupt and prevent you from harming our community, my community."

The plan includes using federal partners and their resources, including intelligence to find, apprehend and prosecute -- whether locally or federally -- anyone using a gun while committing a violent crime.

George Floyd Square
(credit: CBS)

These agencies have already begun work with many in the community, using intelligence to figure out who is behind the violence so they can be stopped.

"The FBI, ATF, U.S. Marshalls these are some of our most capable federal partners and they will play a role in this initiative," said Terry Henderson, special agent in charge with the ATF St. Paul Field Division.

The increase in shots fired and shot spotter activations in the area around 38th and Chicago have been substantial.

"In 2019, there were 33 rounds detected. In 2020, last year, there were 185 activations with over 700 rounds detected," Arradondo said.

Sam Willis Jr. owns a restaurant, Just Turkey, located within the barriers blocking the intersection. He finally feels like the city is hearing their concerns.

"This is a community, and when there's lawlessness that's happening in the community, it's unacceptable," Willis Jr. said. "Hopefully they won't escalate to where we won't be able to open our business. But if they do, we have to find a way to compensate the businesses in the area."

While neighbors and business owners applaud the idea of opening up 38th and Chicago, they are concerned that the people who maintain the intersection will meet police with resistance.

"Some people will see this as disrespecting George Floyd," the neighbor said.

The intersection will be reopened, but the exact day is unknown.

Due to the spike in crime and difficulties surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, a coalition of black-owned businesses called the 38th Street Black Business Collective has been dealing with a financial burden. If you'd like to donate to the group to help them out, click here.

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