Perhaps Minneapolis can adopt the dumpster fire as its new official symbol. “Unrest” in this case means vandalism and perhaps looting, touched off by law enforcement shooting a murder suspect who drew a gun on US Marshals. The incident took place yesterday afternoon, but by nightfall the inevitable knee-jerk Twin Cities reaction was well under way:
Thursday around 2:10 p.m., a U.S. Marshal Service (USMS) taskforce made up of local law enforcement officers were trying to arrest a person wanted on a state arrest warrant for possession of a firearm by a felon, according to a USMS statement. Law enforcement sources told FOX 9 this person was a murder suspect.
According to USMS, the person was in a parked car, did not follow commands and took out a handgun. In response, members of the taskforce fired shots and the person died at the scene.
Following the shooting, a crowd of protesters began to gather near the parking garage in the 1400 block of Lake Street. By 9:30 p.m. law enforcement providing security had left the area. Around 10:10 p.m. the dumpster was lit on fire at the intersection of Lake Street and Girard Avenue S.
That wasn’t all they did:
Word of the shooting quickly drew a crowd in a city that has been on edge about deaths involving law enforcement since last year’s killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. The windows of some nearby storefronts remain covered with plywood, a reminder of the at-times violent civil unrest that followed Floyd’s death.
A Minneapolis police spokesman said that numerous buildings were vandalized overnight after the shooting and that some were looted.
Why were they protesting a shooting in which a suspect was stupid enough to pull a weapon on US Marshals executing a warrant? They, um, don’t know:
Many of those gathered outside the police tape near Lake Street and S. Girard Avenue came simply to watch investigators from the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives work. But some chanted insults at Minneapolis police, whose officers were providing perimeter support.
Members of the citizen crime prevention group We Push for Peace mingled with onlookers and those taunting law enforcement, advocating for patience and peace. Others, from the crime-prevention group A Mother’s Love, also circulated in the crowd.
Many who were chanting anti-police slogans knew little except that officers had killed a man, said Pharoah Merritt of We Push for Peace. “We understand the anger and ire when we see these police shootings,” he said. “We don’t know anything.”
John Hinderaker identifies the “saddest aspect” to this story, which is the condition of city leadership in Minneapolis:
The saddest aspect of this story, perhaps, is the feckless response of Minneapolis authorities:
City Council Member Lisa Bender, whose ward includes Uptown, echoed the desire for more information, tweeting from the scene, “No matter the details, any violence or loss of life is a tragedy.”
“Details” meaning that the guy was wanted for various felonies, including, according to some reports, murder, and also the fact that he drew an illegal gun on the arresting officers. But hey, those are just details, and Lisa Bender is notorious for her view that calling 911 if a burglar invades your home “comes from a place of privilege.” What are “details” when there is racial animosity to be stoked?
Then perhaps everyone should wait on “more information” before acting out in ignorance. Maybe if city leaders like Bender got out in front of their constituents and made that point up front, it might save a few businesses from significant losses thanks to mindless rioters.
Of course, this is the same feckless leadership that left “George Floyd Square” as an autonomous zone. The city tried reopening it yesterday, and I predicted it would get blocked again by the end of the weekend. I was wrong — it got blocked again by the end of the afternoon:
Municipal workers began taking away the city barricades about 4:30 a.m., erecting bike lanes and street signs at 38th and Chicago — dubbed George Floyd Square — with community members involved in coordinating the removal of flowers, artwork, barriers and shacks, said city spokeswoman Sarah McKenzie.
While the task was complete in less than four hours, protesters who have been occupying the intersection since Floyd’s death weren’t ready to yield. Using trash bins, discarded furniture and upended street signs, they again blocked the intersections where the city barriers had stood. About 150 people gathered at the former Speedway gas station and milled about the intersection for the first half of the day, erecting new art and discussing next steps.
By early evening the crowd remained steady and the mood was relaxed, with the four main access roads to the 38th and Chicago intersection blocked off again by cars.
The city didn’t post police to restore and keep order, preferring to outsource its authority to a community group called Agape. Inevitably, activists felt emboldened by the vacuum of authority. So when will the city finally establish its sovereignty and protect the residents and businesses properly? Don’t ask Mayor Jacob Frey:
At a news conference, Mayor Jacob Frey said the “phased reconnection” of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue with the rest of the city had been planned for months but isn’t yet complete. He declined to say when he thought traffic would return.
“I acknowledge that it will be a bit touch and go and difficult over the next several days,” Frey said.
“Phased reconnection” is just another catchphrase used by a pusillanimous city leadership class. This lack of action emboldens radicals to commit “unrest” at any provocation, which means that the Twin Cities should expect to see a lot more of this … until voters take their municipal elections seriously.