Hennepin County Attorney’s Office Assisting Attorney General Ellison in Investigating Unlawful and Dangerous Public Nuisances

Thursday,

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced today that his Office, with the assistance of the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, has opened a civil investigation into whether Merwin Liquors and Winner Gas Station in Minneapolis are maintaining or permitting an unlawful public nuisance on their properties. Both locations have been the sites of numerous acts of gun violence, including on September 2, 2022, when four people were the victims of gun violence outside Merwin Liquors. The intersection between the two businesses has been described as “one of the city’s largest open-air drug bazaars.”

“I’m using the power of my office to take new approaches to stemming the epidemic of gun violence. Like we did to keep tenants safe from slumlord Stephen Meldahl, we are applying the law in ways it’s not commonly been applied before to solve persistent problems and keep people safe,” Attorney General Ellison said. “Companies or properties that turn a blind eye to gun violence and other threats to public safety happening on their premises need to know we are watching and will act. Keeping people and communities safe takes everyone, so I encourage anyone with concerns about these businesses to come forward.”

The Attorney General’s investigation, undertaken with the assistance of the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office and the support of local law enforcement, is intended to examine what steps, if any, Merwin Liquors and Winner Gas Station are taking to address the repeated, dangerous and unlawful behavior occurring on their premises. The investigation further seeks to determine whether Merwin Liquors and Winner Gas Station are maintaining or permitting unlawful public nuisance activity on their properties.

As part of its efforts, the Attorney General’s Office is seeking input from community members and local stakeholders and encourages people with eyewitness accounts of unlawful behavior at these locations to come forward. They may voice their concerns to the Office by calling (651) 296-3353 or by completing a complaint form online.

Copies of the investigatory letters sent to Merwin Liquors and Winner Gas Station are available on the Attorney General’s website.