Minneapolis police leaving force in droves: Former officer says cops feel ‘helpless’
Former Minneapolis police officer Steve Dykstra, who left the force last summer, said on Tuesday that the city’s officers “feel helpless.”
“This goes back before George Floyd. Since around 2015, I know the city of Minneapolis has been backpedaling, taking tools away from police to enforce the law and keep the streets safe,” Dykstra told “America’s Newsroom.”
Dykstra said that the situation was building for years before the “tragic” murder of George Floyd, as city leaders removed “tools” from officers on the streets.
“They feel pretty helpless out there,” Dykstra said.
Grappling with a shortage of officers and increased crime, Minneapolis is seeking federal and state resources after the latest bout of violence in the city included a mass shooting that left a college student dead hours before his graduation Saturday.
Amid the increased violence in the city where George Floyd was killed nearly one year ago, officials also announced a $30,000 reward this weekend in the hunt for suspects responsible for the separate shootings of three children over the past several weeks, including one 9-year-old girl killed by stray gunfire while jumping on a backyard trampoline.
During the early Saturday mass shooting, two people were killed and another eight wounded after gunshots rang out just before 2 a.m. outside in the 300 block of N 1st Ave. Investigators say two men got into an argument and began firing amid a crowd gathered on the sidewalk near Monarch nightclub.
Nearly 200 Minneapolis police officers have left the force in the wake of the death of Floyd, with many filing post-traumatic stress claims due to the civil unrest that followed. Minneapolis has seen at least 31 homicides this year, not including this weekend’s violence.
Dykstra explained how the policies have impacted the way officers do their jobs.
“You take away loitering laws and the ability to pursue vehicles. You don’t have to stop for the police in Minneapolis anymore, thanks to Mayor Frey and the city council. Cops get frustrated,” Dykstra said, adding that he refuses to be a “stand-down cop.”
“What you see is chaos, violence, and reoccurring crime.”
He said the final straw for him before he left the force was seeing Democratic Mayor Jacob Frey order police to abandon their precinct last summer as protesters set it on fire and ordered officers to take a “soft” approach as riots broke out.
“They gave that building to them as a token,” he said.
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