On June 23, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that the Justice Department had plans to take action on President Bidens Gun Crime Prevention Strategy. The U.S. during 2021 has faced climbing numbers of shootings which have reached 9,810 currently. Of this increase in shootings, there have been 310 that were mass shootings.
The White House’s plan started in April as a part of several Executive orders against “ghost guns.” During that week, Derek Chauvin, who was convicted of the murder of George Floyd, was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison.
The death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, caused a worldwide and national outcry against Police violence as a part of systemic racism in America. In addition, the murder of George Floyd forced many White Americans to deal with the role of Policing.
President Biden has been troubled with the number of shootings in the U.S. cites; he also remembers the impact of his The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 when he was a U.S. Senator.
This bill sent thousands of black and brown people to prison for drug crimes but was supported highly by most blacks. According to a 1994 Gallup survey, 58% of African Americans supported the crime bill, compared to 49% of white Americans in 1994. The bill also reduced the homicide rate by banning assault weapons.
2021 A year of escalating gun violence with no answer why?
But in 2021, gun violence escalated following a Pandemic that had the nation “locked down,” with most not working and at home. Moreover, those who had committed gun-related violence often were not incarcerated or tried for fear of spreading the Covid virus.
U.S. cities faced protests that often placed their anger at the Police for the violence against people of color and LGBTQ with week-long civil disorder.
The Police were a physical target, and Police forces like the Minneapolis Police force are facing demands for systemic changes known as “de-fund the Police” and removing “qualified immunity.”
The George Floyd movement attacked the core of systemic racism and the role Police play in policing black people and all of the killing of unarmed people by Police and has resulted in a George Floyd policing reform bill that is moving through the U.S.Congress.
The reaction by Police in 2021 to Police reform in American cities.
The reaction in 2021 has resulted in a nationwide response by Police departments of officers who have retired and resigned and had difficulty replacing them. For example, the New York Times survey found that retirements were up 45% and resignations at 18%. In addition, Minneapolis, the location of George Floyd’s murder in January 2020, reported that the cities officers fell from 817 to 674. Minneapolis had 500 shootings in 2020, and 58 were killed during the year 2020.
The current Chief of Police, Medaria Arradondo, reported that 155 Police officers had left the Minneapolis Police force, limiting the department’s ability to respond to 911 calls. As a result, the Minneapolis Police have requested a working contract worth $496,800 to pay the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Department and The Metro Transit Police to supply 40 extra officers.
Minneapolis Police are currently working under a Justice Department “Patterns and Practices” investigation by the Justice Department based on the policing in the city. Attorney General Garlin and Minnesota Governor Tim Waltz will ensure that a report will examine if Police have broken the law.
Mayor Jacob Frey and the Minneapolis city council support this investigation. In addition, the city council in 2020 has pushed to reform the Police department by reducing the funding and moving it to social services for those affected by Police. But this may be one of the primary factors of a loss of officers.
Many officers resent losing the money from overtime work and working long shifts that will be mandatory with fewer officers. The Police department in 2021 had its funding reduced by $23 million.
But during the Minneapolis city council meetings to rebuild the Police department, leaders in the Black and minority community pushed back for the need to increase policing in high crime areas of Minneapolis with the highest number of Homicides. 40% of the unsolved murders in Minneapolis in 2020 were of Blacks more than any racial group. In addition, the number of shootings during the year has escalated to 288, with a total of 48 homicides since January 1.
Mayor Frey signed a new city budget of 1.5 billion with eight million taken from the Police budget and applied to support crime prevention and a health crisis support unit.
But the Mayor has rejected the removal of Police from the community. Instead, he feels a need to increase Police high crime areas. But this has failed to slow the number of shootings.
The problem of slowing the number of shootings in Minneapolis is not different from any major cities in America.
The flaws of the ATF gun monitoring system to control guns flow in America.
There are eighty thousand gun dealers, manufacturers, and gun importers licensed to sell and buy guns in America.
In 2020 the ATF The Bureau of Alcohol Firearms Tobacco and Explosives. (www.atf.gov) was only able to inspect 10,000 of these gun sellers, and only one-third received violations from the ATF for failure to report the sale of guns. There was only one-third that also lost their license to sell firearms.
The ATF found that 2,400 of these dealers were guilty of committing violations; most failed to complete the required forms, but most of these gun dealers have never faced any charges. The ATF uses the NIBIN (National Integrated Ballistic Information Network ) to trace and track the criminal history.
The process relies on the data supplied by gun dealers and manufacturers to establish the criminal history of guns in America.
The major cities in the midwest and northeast and western states have become part of the “iron pipeline “ that is the primary source for trafficking guns from southern states.
The ATF has issues with tracking the guns in America.
The Department of Justice estimates that five percent of gun dealers supply ninety percent of the guns used in crimes. The number of firearms requiring tracing has grown by sixty percent since 2013, but the ATF has budget most of its funding for criminal activity.
The legal sale of guns has doubled from 2010 through 2019. Firearms imported from 2010–2018 have also increased by 52 %. The gun manufacturers have increased their production by 66%but the budget for the ATF has only increased by 6%.
The ATF has only 2,653 special agents to check on the licensed gun sale, illegal straw sellers, and stolen guns.
In 2021 the DOJ reported 340 new prosecutions of “a felon in possession of a gun.” These are cases of those prohibited from having a firearm are arrested with a weapon or ammunition.The gun trafficking task force is facing an uphill effort to stop the flow of guns. The changing of funding for Police organizations and city counsels with plans to minimize Police actions in communities of color when leaders are divided about policing. In addition, the volume of street guns that can be transferred from person to person will make it difficult for gun identification.
A story of gun violence in Minneapolis: The killing of Drew McGinley.
Minneapolis reflects America’s problem with gun violence; it is a community that is demanding Police reform after decades of Police violence against people of color. It is where George Floyd was murdered, and a worldwide movement began with asking the value of a black man’s life. Minneapolis saw George Floyd’s murderer convicted and sent to prison. But it had a push back by both excellent and dangerous Police, with good ones disillusioned taking extended medical leave or resigning from the force. The brutal officers with years of seniority will remain or move to smaller communities where they would not face public scrutiny.
The distrust in the black community with the Police is still why in Minneapolis, black homicides make up 40% of the unsolved cases, yet blacks are only 20% of the city’s population.
On June 30, Drew McGinley, a community activist in youth sports in Minneapolis, was shot and killed after leaving a bar, but Police had no suspects. On July 1, A Hennepin County District Court judge ordered the City of Minneapolis to increase the Police officers and fund 730 sworn officers by June 30, 2022. Unfortunately, the Mayor and city council are currently at an impasse regarding the funding of the Minneapolis Police department.
The death of Drew McGinley and the political battle over to fund the Police and the flaws of the ATF to find guns is the enigma of Minneapolis and America. We want Police to really “protect and serve “ and follow the law, but far too often, they are not trained as Guardians but as Warrior and bring their own racial biases to the job.
On June 23, 2021, Minnesota Governor Tim Waltz signed the Police Accountability law, but This was quickly attacked by a lawsuit. The Minnesota Police Chiefs, Sheriffs, and Police and Peace officers have contested the new direction for a deadly force law that will hold officers accountable.
This action would only reverse the law and return Minneapolis to the situation it faced before the death of George Floyd. In the battle over Police officers in the city, funding more officers with no policing changes will only result in further deaths in Minneapolis other than the conviction of Derek Chauvin.