Brooklyn Park Sees Significant Increase In Gun Violence, Chief: ‘Police Don’t Matter’
Summer is getting off to a bad start in the sixth-largest city in Minnesota as Brooklyn Park police continue to raise concerns about a growing number of gun violence cases. Officials say shots-fired calls are up 55 percent from this same time last year, with more than 60 cases through the end of June.
Recently, two separate shootings at 63rd and Zane occurred in the middle of the afternoon. One of the shootings resulted in a man shot in the leg.
On June 14, gunshots rang out again at the Highway 610 and Noble park-and-ride lot. Authorities say a group of about 30 to 40 cars were in the ramp at around 2 a.m. when at least five people shot at a vehicle from the top level of the ramp. People scattered and the vehicles left the ramp. No one was hurt during this incident. There haven’t been any arrests.
Police say the ramp is known for streetcar racing meet-ups. Typically, they happen on the weekends, but police say they’re now occurring more frequently. Police and Metro Transit have now chained off the upper levels to prevent illegal gatherings.
On June 22, a 22-year-old Robbinsdale man died after being shot outside the Nice Family African Market. Witnesses say a man sitting in his car opened fire as the victim walked in front of the store. Bullets went into the store, nearly hitting customers, police said.
“There were five or six shots, and then I thought it was just like, a firecracker,” said Brooklyn Park resident Ice Yang.
Brooklyn Park Residents Concerned
“It was never like this growing up,” said Precious Hornsby, a Brooklyn Park resident.
For the first time since living here, Hornsby says she’s afraid.
“I stay up in the house because I don’t think it’s safe to come outside,” she said.
Brooklyn Park Police Chief Craig Enevoldsen believes there are several factors contributing to the rise in crime.
“I think it started with COVID-19. The courts were shut down, and the jail had to empty as much as they possibly could. So, people were committing a crime, and there was no accountability to it,” explained Enevoldsen.
Chief Says Police ‘Up Against a Wall’
The top cop says the backlash against police after high-profile cases like the Derek Chauvin incident is also part of the problem.
“You hear the constant repetition that the police are simply not legitimate, and I think that has fed into people’s individual beliefs that there’s no accountability,” said Enevoldsen.
He says, at times, this leads to “a lawless community.”
“The police don’t matter,” said the chief.
Enevoldsen says some people are actively interfering with investigations while cops try to treat victims or when they’re gathering evidence.
“The lack of cooperation isn’t necessarily completely uncommon around shots fired, but treating the police as the enemy when they show up, that’s uncommon,” said Enevoldsen.
According to police leaders, the city is 11 officers down from its authorized strength of 107. To make the situation more complicated, Brooklyn Park has six new officers currently in training who can’t work independently, so that’s 17 sworn positions not able to help combat crime.
“We haven’t given up, we haven’t thrown our hands up, we’re still doing everything we possibly can to solve these crimes,” said Enevoldsen.
For residents like Hornsby, the violence is stealing the hope, joy and future of the people who live and work in the community.
“I just want to live another day. I want to live past 30, you know. I want my kids to live past 30,” said Hornsby.