Feds to try strange strategy with Minneapolis violent crime

AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File

Violent crime is bad in a lot of places, but it’s been particularly bad in Minneapolis since the whole George Floyd thing. It’s made it so the Twin Cities isn’t someplace most of us would like to go.

And, unfortunately, not much seems to be helping.

However, federal prosecutors are going to try something new. They’re going to, you know, prosecute people.

Minnesota’s new U.S. attorney said Tuesday his office will refocus the effort to combat violent crime in the Twin Cities by adding more resources as well as charging and prosecuting suspected adult carjackers at the federal level.

U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger was joined by several federal and local law enforcement officials, including the police chiefs of St. Paul and Minneapolis, in announcing what his office called the “federal violent crime strategy.”

“Every Minnesotan deserves the right to live safely and securely without fear of shootings, carjackings and violence,” Luger said from the federal courthouse in Minneapolis.

Luger, who was sworn into his position March 30, said he is “refocusing the entire office around the effort to combat violent crime.” Starting now, he said, every federal prosecutor will add violent crime cases in addition to their other work. The attorney’s office will also add anywhere from five to eight additional prosecutors “who will join this fight,” he said. The office currently has 42 criminal prosecutors.

What? Prosecute bad guys? This sounds like crazy talk!

Now, in fairness, what’s happening here is a little more involved. Basically, what’s happening here is that typically, the feds let the states handle most prosecutions unless there’s a compelling reason to try a case in federal court.

What Luger is saying is that there will be a change, where pretty much everyone who can be tried in federal court, will be.

This likely means longer sentences and more resources focused on those prosecutions.

The idea here appears to be to prosecute and convict as many guilty parties as possible so they’re not running around on the streets creating still more problems. It’s a ridiculous idea that just might work.

Will this make a huge difference? Well, that remains to be seen. I don’t know how many offenses will actually meet the federal statute so it’s entirely possible that Luger and company will be sitting on their butts, twiddling their thumbs because there’s nothing for them to do.

However, I like the idea of prosecuting criminals and getting them off the streets.

I won’t say people in prison don’t commit violent crimes, but they don’t do them on the streets of our major cities if they do. That’s an important distinction and I’m fine with confining such activities to a cell block, at least for now.

I hope Luger is successful.

More than that, though, I hope that Luger can repair the damage done in Minneapolis by the whole George Floyd situation. That’s especially true in regard to law enforcement there that feels besieged due to animosity ginned up by activists and the media.

If they can get criminals prosecuted and help make their streets safer, maybe things will turn around.