By: Teresa Mull
The Minneapolis City Council just voted to approve permanent cuts to its police force, though riots, protests, and looting continue to surge in the city. Some residents are taking matters into their own hands.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
As riots played out across the city in late May and early June, a group of Black gun owners responded to a call from the local NAACP and patrolled the mostly African-American West Broadway business district for 10 nights, keeping the area free of looting or arson without firing a shot, said Jamil Jackson, a leader of the group called the Minnesota Freedom Fighters, which advocates for Black gun ownership.
"We were fired on," he said, "but we weren't going to return fire into a dark street." The group has 45 members with a variety of backgrounds, including some who have military training.
"We played a role alongside law enforcement and helped our community be safe," said Mr. Jackson, 43 years old, who runs a youth mentorship program called Change Equals Opportunity, or CEO.
The group has since been asked to protect community events and has formed a security company offering its services. Mr. Jackson said the group has been well-received at these events and hasn't met with any resistance because they mostly focus on community outreach.
John Elder, the Minneapolis police department's chief spokesman, said in an email that "we have long supported neighborhood patrols. All laws must be obeyed by those engaging in these patrols."
He said he hasn't heard of any problems with vigilantism by the groups.
Some neighborhoods have constructed barriers and have formed armed patrols. Maria Gali, 56, a Minneapolis resident, told the Journal, "Neighbors are armed, and some of them are veterans. They are very determined to defend their families, properties and the street."
Teresa Mull (firstname.lastname@example.org) is editor of Gunpowder Magazine.