Second Ward, Minneapolis

This is the public policy forum of Minneapolis Second Ward (Green) City Council Member Cam Gordon and his staff. We use this space to talk about some of what Cam’s working on, explain his positions, and share a little of what life in City Hall is like. Please feel free to comment on posts, within certain ground rules. See our disclaimer, including ground rules, here: http://secondward.blogspot.com/2006/05/disclaimer.html#links

Friday, September 26, 2008

Another Tragedy on the West Bank

On Monday, at approximately 5:09pm, Ahmed Nur Ahmed Ali was shot outside of the Brian Coyle Center on the West Bank. The 20-year-old Augsburg College student had just finished his first day as an intern for the Center.

This is the third homicide this year in the neighborhood.

West Bank residents and business owners have been taking increasing steps to prevent the rising tide of youth violence, including a twice-weekly safety walk. The City has partnered with organizations in the area to help improve the physical condition of commercial spaces, increase beat patrols and coordination between area security officers.

I have heard that the Brian Coyle Center is proposing to install security cameras outside, hire a security officer or police liaison from 5-10pm nightly, work to increase police presence in Currie Park and surrounding streets and hire two Somali outreach workers focused on connecting with Somali young adults. These ideas and more were discussed on Thursday, September 24th at noon at the Brian Coyle Center where community members and others spent over 3 hours listening and discussing this at a meeting called by Pillsbury United, the Somali Conferdation of Minnesota and Augsburg College.

At the meeting and in several phone calls I heard concerns about the fact that the police had not covered the victim's body. This is standard police procedure - all relevant evidence must be collected from the crime scene before any changes can be made to it - but there is a strong cultural and religious impulse within the Somali community to cover bodies. I have offered to work with the MPD on a protocol for screening victims from view in these sorts of tragic circumstances, to keep from offending the sensibilities of communities already reeling from this sort of event.

I am also actively exploring making the West Bank one of the City's target neighborhoods for our Youth Violence Prevention work. It is not at this time, because when the plan was drafted there had been no homicides on the West Bank in years. I believe it is time to reevaluate this, given the tragic year we've had.

Lastly, I am deeply concerned about how hard it is to solve these homocides. No one has been arrested or charged in any of the 3 cases. Anyone with information about incident please call the MPD Tip Line (612)-692-TIPS (8477)

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