Minneapolis Park Police say a child was sexually assaulted overnight Thursday in the ever-growing homeless encampment at Powderhorn Park, where neighbors have vowed not to call law enforcement in the wake of the George Floyd protests.
Police are still searching for a suspect accused of sexually assaulting a juvenile in the park. It is not clear whether the child was living in the encampment.
According to the Park Police, they were notified about the situation by Abbott Northwestern Hospital early Friday morning. The people who took the victim to the hospital did not call police.
It’s been just over two weeks since the tent encampment went up on the east and west side of Powderhorn Park, where many neighbors have sworn off calling law enforcement in solidarity with their neighbors of color.
The New York Times interviewed multiple residents of the Powderhorn Park neighborhood, most of them liberal, White women who promised to turn a blind eye to any property damage, including to their own homes, resulting from the nearby encampment.They even requested a block party permit from the city to limit car traffic, the Times reported.
One male resident said he regretted recently calling the police on two Black teenagers who pulled a gun on him and demanded his car.
“So I would have lost my car. So what?” he told The Times.
But residents are growing increasingly worried about the dangers the encampment brings to the community. Volunteers have been patrolling the area at night, but they say it’s getting to be too much.
“It’s not maybe the best situation but we try to make it as safe as possible here,” Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Commissioner Londel French told a local Fox affiliate.
“If I had control of billion-dollar budgets, yeah, help would be on the way,” he said. “But I have control over — me and eight other people have control over a park board budget that wasn’t meant to address the problem of homelessness.”
Residents hope the situation can lead to a long-term housing solution for the homeless.
“Community response, not government response, we don’t have any government help in this situation,” Sheila Delaney told Fox.
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