A former Minneapolis city councilman and a young mother driven from her home by gun violence spoke to Fox News host Martha MacCallum Monday as Minnesota’s largest city braces for more unrest with the trial of Officer Derek Chauvin underway.
Chauvin is accused of murdering George Floyd by kneeling on the man’s neck in a May 2020 attempt to subdue him.
On “The Story,” MacCallum visited violence-plagued North Minneapolis and spoke with former Councilman Don Samuels, who served from 2003 to 2014.
Samuels stood outside his home, and told MacCallum that Minneapolis had just been getting a handle on its gun violence problem when Floyd’s death caused rioting and lasting damage in the city.
He attributed some of the uptick in violence to the fact that the current city council has decimated the Minneapolis Police Department and effectively left troubled neighborhoods to fend for themselves.
“We came out of the 90s. We were called MurderApolis. Inch by inch we crawled back to a safe time and place,” he said. “Everything from ordinances around property management and the look of your yard, to parties, sounds, noises, boomboxes, cars. All of that.
“We fought our way back to some semblance of order. Now this is at such a risk of being totally obliterated, being led by our city council.”
Samuels said he and his neighbors have set up their own neighborhood watch, complete with cameras and a phone chain to alert friends and family of incidents.
Don and his wife Sondra are among several community members in the Jordan and Hawthorne neighborhoods suing the city over its insufficient policing, the ex-lawmaker told Fox News.
“The state mandates that we have 0.0017 police officers per citizen, which is about 740 [for Minneapolis]. Now we’re down to low 600s… We’re 100 and more below what the state mandate is. So we’re traumatizing this community and the city council has a very short understanding — myopic understanding — of the function of police and community,” Samuels added.
“They just see the errors the police have made and think if we get rid of the police and their errors, humanity will rise up to find itself in some kind of a utopian condition. This is not the human condition.”
He also described parents teaching their young children to “hit the floor” when they hear gunfire outside, because it is so common and the police are not present.
MacCallum asked Samuels why he continues to stay in the area as the violence gets worse. He replied that, as an immigrant from Jamaica, he has a full understanding of how previous generations of Black Americans fought for his ability to ascend the corporate ladder.
“I landed out of college into the job I wanted … None of that would have been achievable without children getting bulled over with water hoses in the South. Children went to jail for me. So how can I, a grown man, not take some risks and sacrifices for the kids that are yet to come, including Lonnice’s little baby, when I got so much without lifting a finger?” he said, referring to Lonnice Thornton and her young daughter Ellie, who also told MacCallum about their harrowing experience in the neighborhood.
Thornton told MacCallum that she was returning home one evening via the alley near her house, when she came upon trashcans blocking her egress.
When she got out to move them, unseen individuals opened fire on her and her car. She jumped back in, and flipped her baby’s car seat, ejecting Ellie onto the floor so that the child would be better protected as she quickly got out of the alley.
Thornton, standing outside what once was her home, said she quickly moved out of the house after the incident.
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