Attorney General Ellison wrongly places blame for crime on businesses

The recent announcement by Attorney General Keith Ellison, that his office has opened a civil investigation into Merwin Liquors and Winner Gas at Lyndale and West Broadway to hold the owners accountable for the street crime that occurs in and around their businesses is wrong on many levels.

First, like so many other progressive approaches to issues, it focuses the blame away from the criminals and puts the blame on innocents.  Unfortunately, AG Ellison’s announcement supports the same thoughts Minneapolis Commissioner of Community Safety Cedric Alexander shared with WCCO-4 news last week after 9 people were shot, and two killed in one night. 

The citizens of Minneapolis are literally begging authorities to stop the crime.  The AG should be working in concert with the Hennepin County Attorney, Minneapolis Office of Community Safety, Minneapolis Police Department, Mn Department of Public Safety, and the Hennepin County Sheriff to marshal all available resources towards a comprehensive and relentless proactive enforcement effort.  It is the ONLY thing that matters right now. 

Long term strategies that deal with social issues are appropriate, and supported by law-and-order folks, but those strategies don’t stand a chance until public safety is achieved. 

The AG and other public safety leaders have failed in this area for several years now.

Second, it ignores the woeful actions of the city of Minneapolis and others at that intersection and so many other locations around town.

  • Will the city be held accountable for what it has allowed to happen at 38th and Chicago?  Is Attorney General Ellison going to go after Speedway which had to abandon its station there after the city allowed activists to create an autonomous zone in 2020?  The station’s building has been turned into the unofficial HQ for lawlessness in the area.  What about CUP Foods?
  • Will the city be held accountable for the lack of any accountability or oversight into the $7 million “Violence Interrupter” program it funded?  Why have we not seen or heard of that resource being a part of the solution at Lyndale and West Broadway?  It should be a constant presence there and elsewhere, and should be working in concert with MPD, not independent and unresponsive as they have been. It’s interesting to note in the linked WCCO story below, a similarly focused group is independently working with Merwin’s Liquor ownership to provide community response to their business.  
  • Will the MTC be held accountable for failing to provide adequate security at nearly every light rail stop on their system?  The station at Lake St. and Hiawatha is the site of unbelievable filth, homelessness, crime, and daily overdoses.
  • Will the Hennepin Theater Trust be investigated and put on notice for the crime that they “allow to occur” on Hennepin Ave?

Third, given Attorney General Ellison’s son is the Ward 4 councilman for the area around Lyndale and West Broadway, the insertion of the Attorney General’s resources there and not elsewhere in the city is arguably unethical.  We shouldn’t be surprised as this is the same relationship that resulted in the highly criticized multimillion-dollar settlement between the city and the George Floyd family days before AG Ellison’s office criminally tried former officer Derek Chauvin for Floyd’s death.

Minneapolis citizens and business owners are right to be critical of the announcement by AG Ellison to focus on and blame businesses instead of criminals for the crime we are experiencing. 

Our leaders need to stop finding scapegoats and point the finger straight at those who are destroying our state.  Go after criminals in a comprehensive and relentless manner and give us our state back.