Hennepin County Sheriff on recent violence in Twin Cities: 'It has to stop'

A day after Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo and other city council members addressed the recent violence happening in the city, Hennepin County Sheriff Dave Hutchinson released a statement, saying "it has to stop."

He said in the last month, more than 100 people have been shot in Minneapolis, adding there have been additional shootings in some of the suburban cities as well.

"Our communities are engaged in a dangerous spate of violence, disproportionally affecting communities of color.  As a community, we have enough to grieve about without compounding this with the deaths of young people lost to gunfire or experiencing life-changing injuries," Hutchinson said in the statement.

Hutchinson stated that it may be easier for police to keep a low profile and fly under the radar during these turbulent times. However, the sheriff said, "it isn't the right thing to do."

"We are here to serve the people of this community, and we will partner with Minneapolis and the other agencies who need our help to address this outbreak of gun violence," he said.

The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office has worked with the city of Minneapolis and other local departments as well as community organizations in what's next. Hutchinson listed off the following measures to be executed:

  • Hennepin County Sheriff's Office will provide resources to assist Minneapolis and other cities with an additional presence in areas where violence has been occurring.
  • The sheriff's office is utilizing their investigative resources to gather evidence and bring people to justice who are involved in these violent attacks.
  • The sheriff's office is providing intelligence to all of the law enforcement agencies involved, including link analyses, showing who is involved in these violent attacks and how best to disrupt them.

"Let me be absolutely clear: The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office is not afraid to act to ensure the safety of the people. Our motto is 'Serving and protecting all in the community by delivering equal justice, safety, and wellness.' We are now working to help stop crime and make the streets safe in a manner that does nothing to further erode the trust between law enforcement and the community," Hutchinson said in the statement.

During an interview on Tuesday, Sheriff Hutchinson said he agrees with MPD Chief Medaria Arradondo’s decision to make law enforcement highly visible in the city.

“I think it's the only approach we have,” he said. “When we talk about police reform and community involvement that can come but right now we have to save our young African American men and women getting shot on the streets and murdered on our streets, in order to talk about police reform, to talk about how we can better serve our people. No one is talking about that now because of all of the violence.”

He told us they are still determining how many Sheriff’s deputies will assist with those patrols, and where they'll deploy in the city. 

City officials said on Monday that Minneapolis Police have encountered hostility while responding to emergencies in the last week.

“I’m sure our deputies have faced extra hostility but we have plans in place,” said Hutchinson.

“When we do stops, when we go after targeted bad people […] it's not going to be just one or two deputies, it's going to be a mass of deputies and that's to protect ourselves, it's to protect our community, and it's to protect the bad guys and gangsters because we don’t want to get into shootings, we don’t want to get into altercations. We want to go in there and we want to safely detain them, safely control the crowds.”

Sheriff Hutchinson told us he believes the community should have a voice and lead the efforts to reform police, rather than politicians. He called George Floyd’s death a tragedy.

“I think the most important thing people need to realize, is while these tragedies happen, we hate them as much as anyone else,” he said. “We need to grow from this, we need to change from this and I’m all for police reform police reform needs to happen, it’s needed to happen for a long time.”  

Hutchinson said that this is not the time for partisan political battles.

"It's a time for unity to pass reform, to pass laws to prevent violence and to hold people accountable for ALL violence," he said.

He’s asking the community to reach out to the Sheriff’s Office. 

“The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office is behind every single person in the county, we're going to do what we can do to make things better,” said Hutchinson. “Anybody who lives in the county who has words of encouragement or ideas for how we can improve how we serve, please call our office because we know we're not perfect but we want to get as close to perfect as we can be.”


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