MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Protesters are defying curfew orders in Minneapolis Friday night, and firefighters are trying to put out several business and brush fires throughout the city during the fourth night of unrest after the death of George Floyd.
One night after Minneapolis Police’s 3rd Precinct building was overtaken and burned down, demonstrators gathered at the 5th Precinct building late Friday night, located about four miles west.
At about 11:30 p.m., law enforcement and the National Guard began slowly moving towards the 5th Precinct en masse in a show of force. National Guard loud speakers announced that arrests will be made if protesters do not disperse.
The Minnesota National Guard, State Patrol, and local police are on the ground responding to incidents in Mpls-St. Paul. I urge residents to comply with 8pm curfew and go home immediately. Law enforcement needs to respond to emergencies, restore order, and keep Minnesotans safe.
— Governor Tim Walz (@GovTimWalz) May 30, 2020
Tear gas was dispatched into the crowd soon after. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety says 350 total law enforcement members are on the ground. Just after midnight, there were reports of shots fired at law enforcement members, but no one was injured. DPS official said as of 12:20 a.m., several protesters have been arrested.
The Associated Press reports that the Pentagon is sending military police to the Twin Cities, a move said to be rare in nature. Officials say soldiers could arrive withing four hours.
At about 10 p.m., a couple hundred protesters began stopping traffic on Interstate 35W, marching and practicing civil disobedience. WCCO’s Mike Max was at the scene, and said a brush fire was set near the interstate, and a UPS truck was overtaken and ransacked. But protesters soon left the area, heading towards the 5th Precinct building off of 31st Street and Lake Street.
The gathering at the 5th Precinct, which is about four miles west of the 3rd Precinct, started out peaceful, with protesters slowly beginning to leave the area by about 11 p.m. — about the same time a Wells Fargo branch near the 5th was looted and set on fire. Looters also hit the Stop-N-Shop gas station across from the precinct.
By about 11:25 a.m., fire spread from the Wells Fargo to the U.S. Post Office next door. The Hibachi Buffet down the block also erupted in flames soon after.
— David Schuman (@david_schuman) May 30, 2020
This was a video of the hibachi restaurant on fire at Lake and 1st Ave. Apologies for poor quality pic.twitter.com/3VvAPgBJ3q
— David Schuman (@david_schuman) May 30, 2020
Just before 1 a.m. Saturday, rioters began to set fires to dumpsters, trash bins, furniture and other items on several residential blocks near the 5th Precinct building, moving burning items into the middle of the street. Some neighbors grabbed fire extinguishers and garden hoses to try to put them out before they spread further.
Earlier, protesters taunted members of the Minnesota State Patrol as they held a line near the torched 3rd Precinct right before the 8 p.m. curfew took effect.
— WCCO – CBS Minnesota (@WCCO) May 30, 2020
Dressed in full riot gear, troopers did not budge, but as soon as the Minnesota National Guard members appeared, protesters were warned they were in violation of the Gov. Tim Walz’s executive order.
The crowds then followed the National Guard west down Lake Street. All along, the crowd was hit with tear gas, but they continued to move and follow the solders.
— Jeff Wagner (@Jeff_Wagner4) May 30, 2020
The scene was chaotic, with law enforcement spraying tear gas into the crowds, while protesters threw water bottles, and some drivers sped dangerously down Lake Street, with some passengers hanging out of the vehicles and throwing projectiles.
The Minneapolis Fire Department took to Twitter right before to assure the public that they’re working hard to keep up with the myriad fires.
Minneapolis Fire continues to respond to fires across the City. Responses may be delayed until the scene can be secured.
— Minneapolis Fire (@MinneapolisFire) May 30, 2020
In north Minneapolis, looters set fire to the Fade Factory off West Broadway Avenue and North 24th Avenue at about 10:30 p.m. WCCO’s Erin Hassanzadeh was at the scene at about 11:20 p.m., and said there was not much law enforcement presence as firefighters battled the blaze.
The owner of the Fade Factory Barbor shop in North Minneapolis, Trevon (in the white tee), tells me he called the fire department two and a half hours before they showed up. They told him he would be “put on the list” when he called because they were so busy.
— Erin Hassanzadeh WCCO (@erinreportsTV) May 30, 2020
Those in violation of the curfew can face a misdemeanor charge, which entails 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
The Minneapolis City Council will hold an emergency meeting Saturday at 12:30 p.m. to discuss Mayor Jacaob Frey’s local emergency declaration.
Source: CBS Minnesota