A Minneapolis neighborhood where residents vowed not to call the police in the wake of the George Floyd protests is now struggling to deal with an ever-growing homeless population.
The New York Times interviewed multiple residents of Powderhorn Park, most of them liberal, White women who promised not to call law enforcement out of solidarity with their neighbors of color.
“The women agreed to let any property damage, including to their own homes, go ignored and to request a block party permit from the city to limit car traffic,” The Times reported. “Rather than turn to law enforcement if they saw anyone in physical danger, they resolved to call the American Indian Movement — a national organization created in 1968 to address Native American grievances such as police brutality — which had been policing its own community locally for years.”
But two weeks ago, hundreds of homeless people set up tents in the nearby park, just blocks from Mr. Floyd’s police-custody death, and now the women say they’re getting concerned.
“I’m not being judgmental,” said Carrie Nightshade, 44, who told The Times that she no longer felt comfortable letting her children play in the park by themselves. “It’s not personal. It’s just not safe.”
Linnea Borden said she stopped walking her dog through the park because she was tired of being harassed.
Angelina Roslik “burst into tears” talking about how unsafe she felt in the neighborhood, The Times reported.
Mitchell Erickson, a Powderhorn Park resident, said he regrets breaking the pact last week after he called the police on two Black teenagers who pulled a gun on him and demanded his car keys.
“Flustered, Mr. Erickson handed over a set, but it turned out to be house keys. The teenagers got frustrated and ran off, then stole a different car down the street,” The Times reported.
Mr. Erickson called the police but said he would not cooperate with prosecutors in a case against the boys. Now, he said he should have just relinquished his car.
“Been thinking more about it,” he told The Times. “I regret calling the police. It was my instinct but I wish it hadn’t been. I put those boys in danger of death by calling the cops.”
“I haven’t been forced to think like this before,” he added. “So I would have lost my car. So what? At least no one would have been killed.”
Meanwhile, some people of color in the neighborhood expressed doubts that the community would stick to its promise.
“This thing is probably going to last two or three weeks,” Aza Ochoa, a Mexican and Native American father, told The Times.
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