Bloody sidewalks remain in north Minneapolis weeks after stabbing
Outside North End Hardware and Rental on Penn and Lowry Avenues, weeks-old blood spatter can be seen on the sidewalk from a stabbing earlier this month.
Store staff say the blood stains “bother” them and that the city tried to clean it up but it’s still not good enough.
Phillip Murphy has been advocating for better crime scene remediation for years.
“North Minneapolis has been neglected for a long time and we deserve better,” Murphy said. “It’s a biohazard. A lot of times with shootings, there’s a lot more than blood.”
Back in 2013, Murphy and other residents sounded the alarm after children were seen walking up and down blood-stained snow in north Minneapolis, days following a deadly shooting.
City leaders at the time vowed to address the problem. Ten years later, the Minneapolis Police Department confirms there have been no significant changes to protocol.
“I think the city council’s failed on this because they should be making sure that this work gets done by sending somebody out going up themselves to inspect these scenes and nobody does,” Murphy said.
“I think that our fire department does their best to clean a scene,” council member LaTrisha Vetaw said. “Could they miss something? Absolutely. If there’s something left out at a scene, report it to 311, report it to your council member, and I’m sure we’ll get someone out to clean it.”
Vetaw represents the north side. She says there may be various reasons for delays, including having to wait until investigators collect all evidence from the scene.
“I believe that our city staff, the police, the fire department, those responsible are doing the best that they can to get crime scenes cleaned up in a timely manner,” she said.
In a statement, the Minneapolis Fire Department said in part that its crews do “crime scene clean-up as a courtesy and an unwritten agreement, there is no policy. The Fire Department has water, hoses, high-flow nozzles and will serve the community if needed and/or requested to the best of our ability. If requested for a clean-up by MPD after their investigations are completed, the fire department will respond when available in a non-emergency capacity to the scene.”
Under the Minneapolis Police Department’s procedural protocol, “The MPD on-scene supervisor or senior officer shall contact the MFD via MECC to make necessary arrangements for calling MFD personnel back to the scene to remove medical debris, blood, or body fluids upon completion of the investigation.”
If a more complex or extensive cleanup is required, a biohazard contractor must be called.
Because fire personnel often are working around the clock, Murphy believes there’s a better solution.
“Crime scene cleanup remediation should be done by private contractor because I don’t think the city has the resources to actually do it,” he said.
Vetaw says there have not been any conversations regarding hiring private contractors to clean up crime scenes.