Ward 11 Neighbors,
I am relieved that last night was relatively peaceful and I am hoping for an even calmer evening ahead. This has been an overwhelmingly sad and disturbing past week, and I am so grateful to see our community’s compassionate response. Neighbors are coming together to support one another and to help areas of our city most affected by this unrest. Folks are finding ways to help and coming up with creative new ways to do so. Seeing all this gives me so much hope and certainty that we will be stronger on the other side of this, and I hope you are all feeling that too.
Governor Walz has extended our curfew but with more limited hours – tonight and tomorrow night, we must remain at home between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. with exceptions for individuals going to and from work, those fleeing dangerous situations, journalists, and select others listed in his order. I continue to urge you to please follow this directive. It’s one of the most helpful and safest things you can do. Before the curfew takes effect tonight, check in with your neighbors and loved ones. The National Guard will still be present in Minneapolis. There are no plans for highway closures.
Please be careful about sharing unconfirmed reports of safety issues. State officials said this morning that there has been disinformation spreading, causing alarm within our communities. I ask you to be as vigilant about what you share as you are in observing your community in the first place. Additionally, the Minneapolis Police Department shared this evening that they asked residents to check their property for harmful objects that may be have been left by uninvited people. Propane tanks, bottles filled with gasoline & other substances have been reported. They say there are no credible threats against private residences, and this is only a safety check.
I asked for and received guidance today that folks with information about suspicious activities, such as a vehicle circling without a license plate, should call the MPD tip line at 612-692-8477. If you see suspicious activity that poses an immediate threat, call 911. If you experience a delay, please continue to call and it will be answered. Call volumes have been exceptionally high to each of these numbers, and I continue to ask City leadership for action to ensure our system is available and responsive to requests coming in.
The City has created this guide with tips on keeping your home and neighborhood safe, and for when to use 911. In addition, a group of South Minneapolis neighbors put together a list of tips for non-Black neighbors and have asked they be shared to ensure community response to our current situation does not cause more harm. Here’s what these community members advise, in their own words:
- Doorknock your block and introduce yourself. Go to every house. The goal is to be known to all of your neighbors, not just those who were invited to organize.
- Provide your contact info and your house number. Make sure your block is well connected. If giving out your contact info to known neighbors makes you nervous, please question why you want to do community watch. If neighbors of color don’t share back, don’t be suspicious. You haven’t earned their trust. Ask if they have folks nearby to connect with and trust their answer.
- Be present and visible as a neighbor. If you have a porch, a stoop, or a big street-facing window, try to be visible several times per hour. Keep your lights on. Bad actors are less likely to come into a neighborhood that is present and active. Keep eyes on houses that are unable to do this themselves.
- Disarm folks by engaging them. If you see someone you don’t recognize, say something simple like “Hey – you good?” Engage rather than attempting to scare, threaten, or make assumptions by reporting them. They might just be trying to get home.
- Document what you observe, but only report when something actually happens. The goal of community watch is to promote safety, not to recreate police surveillance and targeting. That first step is visibility and presence. The second is sharing information. Only report when and what has actually happened that poses a credible threat. Try to only share information that you’ve witnessed, or name the source if it’s second-hand. Try not to create panic by making judgments of what “seems suspicious.”
- Send direct, plain language updates in one message. Provide only the factual information in a useful way: “Red Chevy truck, plates XXX-123, slowly headed south on Nicollet from 24th Street, 3 white men inside flashing automatic rifles. 12:31AM” That’s it. That’s the update. If there were no automatic rifles in that update, is it still a threat? Interrogate why or why not.
It has been challenging to get confirmed, real-time information about potential safety threats in our area. Part of that is the nature of a crisis like the one we’re in – our systems were not prepared for something like what we’ve experienced in recent days and the situation evolves by the day, by the hour, and sometimes even by the minute. To be clear, this is an explanation, not an excuse. I share frustrations about it. My office is in frequent contact with City leadership and the incident command team to try to get the most accurate and complete information, and to ensure there’s an appropriate response to concerns in Ward 11. My office has also asked for close coordination between City communications and others, like the Minneapolis Police, to ensure that any information going out on official channels – much of which I am passing along to you – is vetted and verified to the extent possible. I encourage you to follow the City’s official Twitter account and official Facebook page for updates.
I’m so happy to see many Ward 11 neighbors are joining clean-up efforts. However, please do not enter any damaged buildings. It’s very dangerous to do so. The City is blocking sidewalks to keep people away from damaged buildings and is working with property owners to secure these buildings and get emergency demolitions started as quickly as possible. City crews continue work as fast as they can to help clean up streets, get traffic lights operational, and support residents’ volunteer clean-up efforts.
Also in the spirit of helping out, the generosity of this community has left food donation sites across the City have with an incredible amount of donations – I saw this firsthand when I helped with community response efforts at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church near the Third Precinct over the weekend. With such massive support, these organizations are in many cases struggling to process all the food donations. For now, the best way to help is through financial donations to local food shelves or nonprofit organizations you trust. The City has put together this resource to help guide you, if you wish to contribute. In addition, you can support affected East Lake Street businesses at this link. Finally, if you are in need of food assistance, the City has a list of local food shelves available here.
Aside from emergency response, the City is also working hard to continue providing essential services to our community. Garbage and recycling service resumed today, June 1. Crews are returning to properties whose collection was postponed last week due to safety concerns to empty those carts and then resume the normal collection schedule. Please have your carts out by 6 a.m. for pickup. You can pull them back by 4 p.m. If your carts weren’t emptied, crews will pick up extra materials on your regularly scheduled collection day this week. Find service updates here.
I appreciate how much I’ve heard from Ward 11 neighbors over the past week. I am grateful for each and every one of you who has taken the time to share your thoughts, feelings, ideas, and outrage with me. I appreciate your patience as my office continues to work our way through all the inquiries received and I intend to respond to all of them. As I’ve mentioned before, our voicemail system has logged thousands of messages from folks across the country, so it is best to use email to reach me at email@example.com for the time being. We are working on sorting this out.
Last but not least, if you are out in the community or gathering with neighbors, please remember that we are still facing the COVID-19 pandemic and take appropriate precautions. Wear a mask and keep six feet between you and others, and wash your hands frequently.
In solidarity and community,