by Sandy Malone and Christopher Berg
Minneapolis, MN – Rioters have been rampaging through Minneapolis and St. Paul looting and setting structures ablaze Thursday night, including the Minneapolis 3rd Police Precinct.
Police seem unable to stop the rioting as the department’s community-oriented policing model towards crowd control leaves them unable to confront violent rioters effectively.
Officers have not been given body armor or shields and are forced to withdraw as rioters continue to throw rocks, frozen bottles of water, and explosives at them.
The rioters are inexplicably not de-escalating despite being asked to stop destroying the city.
Minneapolis PD appears to have retreated from the 3rd police precinct, leaving rioters to destroy their police station.
Other buildings in Minneapolis and St. Paul are also being looted and set ablaze.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey held a press conference earlier in the day offering no plan for how to end the rioting.
The mayor had encouraged people to join the first night of protests which turned into rioting on Tuesday.
“What we’ve seen over the last two days and the emotion-ridden conflict of last night is the result of so much built-up anger and sadness – anger and sadness that has been ingrained in our black community not just because of five minutes of horror, but 400 years,” Frey said during the press conference.
Frey said that is isn’t just “understandable” that people are feeling angry and sad, but it is also “right.”
“It is a reflection of the truth that our black community has lived,” he declared. “That sadness must also be understood by our non-black communities.”
Frey appeared to choke up as he encouraged the city to “be better” than they have been in the past.
People need to confront their “shortcomings with humility” and “restore the peace,” he added.
Frey said he has spoken with George Floyd’s girlfriend, Courtney, who said Floyd “was all about love and all about peace.”
“He did not receive that love and that peace from our officers on the night of May 25,” the mayor told reporters.
Frey said that the city is facing a “time when one crisis is sandwiched against another,” but that it could be a turning point for the city.
“We could look back to know that we rose to right the wrongs of the past, not just with words, but with action,” he declared. “We need to offer radical love and compassion.”
The mayor said that there will be “an all-out effort to restore peace and security” in the days ahead, but failed to specify how he plans to reach that goal.
“Our communities need grocery stores for food. We need banks for cash. We need pharmacies for needed medication,” Frey said. “Let’s hold these communities dear by doing right by them and by safeguarding them and these community assets that we know they need, especially during a pandemic.”
The mayor noted that the city is dealing with a budget shortfall due to the coronavirus pandemic, and that it will be difficult to find the money to assist those who suffered losses due to the damages to or complete losses of their businesses.
“This sort of calls the question of how much we do need assistance from the federal and state government now,” he said. “We needed it before this killing took place. It’s all the more essential after.”
Minneapolis City Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins also spoke during the press conference on Thursday.
After stepping up to the podium, Jenkins sang a snippet of the traditional hymn, “Amazing Grace,” before extending her condolences to Floyd’s family members, calling each of them out by name.
Jenkins, who said she was speaking on behalf of all black people in the country, said that they all “feel as if there was a knee on all of our collective necks – a knee that says ‘black life does not matter.’”
“As we stand here grieving yet another loss of black life – a senseless, tragic loss of black life – I know that something’s gotta change,” she added.
Jenkins then asked her fellow city leaders and community members to “declare a state of emergency, declaring racism as a public health issue.”
“In an effort to try and cure this disease, I am stating exactly what everyone else has witnessed, and that is racism,” she declared.
Jenkins told protesters that they have “every right” to express their anger and sadness, but firmly denounced the destruction and looting that took place throughout the city in the wake of Floyd’s death.
“You have no right to perpetrate violence and harm on the very communities that you say that you are standing up for,” she said. “We need peace and calm in our streets, and I am begging you for that calm.”
City leaders are working to establish a “healing space” at the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) 3rd Precinct in order for people to “grieve, express their concerns, their anger, in a safe and humane way,” Jenkins noted.
The 3rd precinct has been attacked by brick-throwing rioters over the past two days.
According to Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, the community “has been in trauma” since long before Floyd’s death.
“What I cannot allow as chief is for others to compound that trauma,” Chief Arradondo said during Thursday’s press conference. “So, if individuals – as occurred last night – are committing behavior and acts which are criminal…I cannot allow that.”
The chief said that “there was a different tenor” during the demonstrations on Wednesday night versus those on Tuesday.
“The vast majority of people that have come to gather have been doing so peacefully,” he noted. “But there was a core group of people that had really been focused on causing some destruction…There was a shift that certainly occurred last night.”
“Many of the people that were involved in the criminal conduct last night were not known Minneapolitans…so yes, there were certainly people who were involved in the activities last night that were certainly not recognized as being [from] here,” Chief Arradondo confirmed.
Although several law enforcement officers and citizens were injured during the mayhem on Wednesday night, none of those injuries were severe, the chief noted.
Frey confirmed he has requested the assistance of the Minnesota National Guard.
On Wednesday, the police department identified the officers involved in Floyd’s arrest as former Minneapolis Police Officers Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, and J. Alexander Kueng, KMSP reported.
Chauvin was a 19-year veteran of the MPD, while Thao served for 12 years, according to the Star Tribune.
Kueng was hired by MPD in 2017, and Lane joined the force in 2019.
Protesters have demanded the immediate arrests of all four officers involved.
They gathered outside the homes of Chauvin and Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman on Wednesday, the Star Tribune reported.
The city erected barricades around the 3rd Precinct on Minnehaha Avenue earlier on Wednesday in anticipation of additional protests.
By approximately 5 p.m., growing tensions outside the precinct resulted in officers deploying flashbangs and tear gas to disperse the mob, KARE reported.
Some members in the crowd hurled bottles and rocks at police and other demonstrators.
Rioters set buildings ablaze and threw explosives at police Wednesday night.
Police officers without crowd control body armor or shields came under a barrage of thrown rocks and fireworks, videos showed.
Scanner traffic indicated Molotov cocktails were also thrown at officers.
Scanner traffic also indicated an officer was hurt during an attack. The extent of the officer’s injuries has not been reported.
The National Guard was ultimately ordered to the MPD 3rd Precinct to relieve the officers stationed there, the Star Tribune reported.
They were accompanied by Minnesota State Patrol and St. Paul Police Department officers.
Chanting protesters surrounded the precinct as they loudly demanded justice for Floyd, the Star Tribune reported.
With officers under-equipped for the rioting, the crowd started vandalizing buildings and set an Auto Zone building on fire.
The business was set ablaze at approximately 10:30 p.m. and soon ignited explosive materials inside, KARE reported.
Toxic fumes spewed out of the AutoZone, making it difficult to breathe.
Firefighters managed to put out a majority of the AutoZone fire, but the store went up in flames yet again just hours later, the Star Tribune reported.
It was ultimately destroyed, as was a nearby Wendy’s, according to Bring Me The News.
Rioters also ignited a nearby affordable housing development, which was still under construction.
The flames at that location shot more than 100 feet into the air, the Star Tribune reported.
The fire at the two-story building quickly raged out of control and engulfed an entire city block.
The affordable housing development was completely destroyed, Bring Me The News reported.
Other burned buildings included 7-Sigma, a tavern, a Metro by T-Mobile, and a barbershop.
Firefighters crisscrossed the city all night responding to various blazes, often with police accompanying them to help control crowds, the Star Tribune reported.
The windows of a U.S. Bank were shattered by rioters wielding baseball bats, KARE reported.
Pharmacies and liquor stores were also among the locations the riotous mobs targeted, as well as a Cub Foods and a Target, according to the Star Tribune.
Video from FOX9 Reporter Karen Scullin showed the looters fighting to get a pile of TVs out of a Target store.
Scullin reported that the looters were also stealing groceries and clothes.
Every single shop in a nearby strip mall had its windows bashed in, including storefronts for charter school programs, the Star Tribune reported.
Many of the trashed businesses on East Lake Street are owned by immigrants.
WCCO reporter Jeff Wagner reported that the Target store was closed before the looting started, but looters smashed out the windows to get in.
Additional buildings that were vandalized or looted include a Dollar Tree, a Speedway, Precision Tune Auto, Dairy Queen, Papa Murphy’s Pizza, Dominos, Ace Hardware, CVS, Sephora, Gamestop, H&M, an Apple Store, Urban Outfitters, Foot Locker, a laundromat, a floral store, a global market store, a pawn shop, hardware stores and restaurants, among others, Bring Me The New reported.
Someone also drove a vehicle through the windows of Car-X Tire and Auto.
Police deployed flashbangs and tear gas in an effort to disperse the looters, but because the precinct was under siege, they were unable to control all of the destruction the rioters were causing, according to KARE.
Protesters repeatedly attacked police with bottles, rocks and other projectiles throughout the night, the Star Tribune reported.
In some instances, citizens took it upon themselves to stop protesters from breaking into and stealing from various businesses and shops, KARE reported.
“I’m just sick of what is unfolding out here because this is not why we are out here, and this is not what we are asking for,” explained one protester who was stopping people from breaking into a tobacco shop.
A 59-year-old pawn shop owner is facing a murder charge after he fatally shot a man who allegedly tried to burglarize his business in the midst of Wednesday night’s chaos.
The conditions of the other four people shot by various other citizens throughout the night have not been released.
Just before midnight, Frey begged citizens not to “let tragedy beget more tragedy,” the Star Tribune reported.
“Please, help us keep the peace,” he implored.
Frey made the desperate request hours after he publicly questioned why now-former Officer Chauvin hasn’t been arrested for Floyd’s death, the Star Tribune reported.
“Why is the man who killed George Floyd not in jail?” Frey asked at the time. “If you had done it, or I had done it, we would be behind bars right now. And I cannot come up with a good answer to that.”
Frey is aware, or should be aware, that the medical examiner needs to rule Floyd’s death a homicide before anybody can be arrested for a homicide-related charge.