Community members voice concerns over problem corner in north Minneapolis

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Frustrated people in north Minneapolis expressed concerns over an intersection that has become a hotbed for violent crime.

City and state leaders on Tuesday listened to community members at Sanctuary Covenant Church, just feet away from two businesses — Merwin Liquors and Winner Gas — that are now subjects of a civil investigation led by Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison.

The Attorney General’s Office is investigating the businesses at the corner of West Broadway and North Lyndale avenues to discern whether they are maintaining or permitting crimes on their properties. Minneapolis police say they’ve been called to the area almost 3,500 times since 2019.

RELATED: Prosecutors investigate 2 north Minneapolis businesses at center of crime hotspot

At times during Tuesday’s meeting, community members spoke out, making their frustrations known, with some calling for the businesses to be shut down.

Minneapolis City Council Member Jeremiah Ellison — the attorney general’s son — explained to those in attendance that the goal of the investigation is to get to the root of the problem.

“The problem that we’re trying … what we’re trying to get at is really taking a deep dive, taking inventory of the culpability of the businesses so we can distinguish whether we’re making them [a scapegoat] or whether they really need to be held accountable,” the council member said. “I think we all have our expression of what needs to happen, but what we’re trying to develop is the proof to understand the problem so we can do what needs to happen.”

RELATED: Community groups stage protest to reclaim problem corner on West Broadway

Minneapolis Community Safety Commissioner Dr. Cedric Alexander told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS after the meeting that Merwin and Winner need to step up.

“They need to come take some initiative on your own beyond what they’ve been doing in the past, because that’s not working,” Alexander said. “And I think the fact that AG Ellison has taken initiative to do what he do is, is a great thing, it’s a step in the right direction to help this community.”

Last week, Merwin Liquors and local violence prevention organization We Push for Peace announced they were partnering to help calm the strip mall parking lot. The nonprofit’s founder, Trahern Pollard, said his group plans to station patrols in the area during the liquor store’s hours of operation.

Inspector for MPD’s fourth precinct, Charlie Adams, was at Tuesday’s meeting and told community members that he’s spoken with ownership of Winner Gas Station. Inspector Adams said ownership is “just as frustrated” and have hired off duty officers for at night.