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Tired of waiting, some faith leaders are jumping to action to fight against violence

Reverend Jerry McAfee says while he waits for the Minneapolis Mayor and the City Council to come to an agreement, he will work on violence prevention himself.

MINNEAPOLIS — During a news conference with two Minneapolis city council members on Tuesday, Reverend Jerry McAfee expressed, he's had enough.

"We are in a state of emergency, I've been telling you that for over a year now," Rev. McAfee said to Minneapolis Councilman Phillipe Cunningham on Tuesday. "Bring us something back, I don't give a damn what it is, but we want all of y'all here together. On the same stage, whatever that thing you all agree on, merge that stuff before the end of the week."

On Wednesday, the Reverend said he doesn't want to be kept waiting any longer.

"I am mentally, sometimes physically, certainly not spiritually exhausted," McAfee said. "We've been doing this for a long time. We've been trying to get the city to listen for a long time, not to be reactionary but to be proactive."

"You've got the city council here, and you've got the mayor here," he continued with his two hands wide apart. "And they want people in the community to do certain things but they won't come together. So we're left to do what we need to do, and we will do it mark my word."

And that means taking this situation into his own hands and inspiring other faith leaders around town to take action too.

The reverend has asked them to show up to what he says are areas identified as violence hotspots.

"While we're there we want to give everyone the opportunity and the option to change, we have access to jobs," he said. "We didn't have that before, we can get that training, get you mental health taken care of, we can get you food. If you make the decision not to do any of that, we have no problems in joining in other entities to hold you accountable."

He said the gatherings themselves and the presence of groups of people doing good in the neighborhood will deter others from crime.

"Presence makes a difference," he said. "No one wants to go to jail. And the more you do stuff, in a broad array of people the more you will get caught."

And in terms of those who are responsible for now the injury of two children and the death of one, he said he wants them to turn themselves in.

"I'm probably sure that you had no evil intent, in hurting these babies," he said, when asked what he would tell the people responsible for the shootings. "I would almost be a 100 percent sure you didn't intend to do that, but now it has happened. So we need you to take responsibility of it."

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