In the two and a half months since the death of George Floyd, Minnesota has been spotlighted as the center for protests, change, and civil unrest. The results have varied widely.
City Council members unanimously voted to eliminate the Minneapolis Police Department in June. Over 100 officers have resigned, were fired, or took a leave of absence. The entire community service staff was let go due to budget cuts.
So what effects are the protests and changes having on crime?
The answer depends on the statistics that you see. Total reported crimes went down 31% in June and 4% in July. Police stops dropped by 50%. Yet when you zoom into gunfire incidents, you see a different story.
Gunfire incidents went up 224% in June and 166% in July. Between May 25 and July 8, eight people died and 118 were injured due to violent crimes.
U.S. Attorney in Minnesota Announces Violent Crime Task Force
As a result of these statistics, in early July, United States Attorney Erica H. MacDonald announced that she would put together a task force to specifically address the violent crimes happening within the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.
This could mean that offenders could face federal, rather than state, criminal prosecution. Understanding the difference between these types of crimes is crucial if you want to create a strong defense and maintain your freedom.
What Will This Task Force Look Like?
Do not worry about a slew of federal agents making arrests like those seen in Portland and New York City. MacDonald stated that her goals for the task force are “not to flood our communities with law enforcement, but rather to leverage law enforcement’s collective resources to allow for focused and effective enforcement actions.”
Instead, the task force will get together to gather intelligence, share information, and make quick arrests so victims of gun violence can see justice. Groups at the state and federal level are involved in this task force, including:
- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
- United States Secret Service
- United States Marshals Service
- Drug Enforcement Administration
- Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension
State and federal prosecutors, along with deputies from surrounding counties, will also submit their input. This collaboration increases the risk that offenders will face federal, rather than state, charges.
State vs. Federal Crimes in Minnesota
The difference between a state and a federal case may be who arrests you and who takes up your case.
Federal prosecutors have the ability to usurp a state’s case and charge offenders with federal crimes. When crimes are charged at the federal level, offenders have to attend different courts, face different sentences, and hire different defense attorneys to handle their cases.
If you are arrested by federal officers, even for committing a crime within the state of Minnesota, it’s time to reach out to a defense lawyer who is qualified to take on federal crimes.
Penalties may vary for similar crimes, as well. Both Minnesota state and the federal government have specific charges for illegally possessing a firearm while under the influence of drugs.
Even if you have a permit, it is a misdemeanor crime in Minnesota to carry a firearm while intoxicated. Penalties may include up to one year in jail and up to $3,000 in fines.
If this case is taken up by the federal government, you could face a much severe charge. Possessing a firearm while under the influence of drugs, for instance, could get you ten years behind bars.
About the Author:
Christopher Keyser is an AV-Preeminent rated criminal and DWI defense attorney based in Minneapolis who is known for fighting aggressively for his clients and utilizing innovative tactics to get the most positive results. He has been featured in numerous media outlets due to the breadth and depth of his knowledge and named a Certified Specialist in Criminal Law by the Minnesota Bar Association. Mr. Keyers is Lead Counsel rated, and he has received recognition for his criminal law work from Avvo, Expertise, Super Lawyers, The National Trial Lawyers, and more.