Minneapolis and St. Paul Democrat Mayors declare surprisingly correct response to potential riots


Minneapolis, June 1, 2020, after peaceful protest.

April 13, 2021: Brooklyn Center: 79 people arrested Tuesday night for offenses from inciting riot to unlawful assembly.

Minneapolis: Only two citations for curfew violations. No looting or burglary confirmed.
St. Paul: No arrests, citations or damage Tuesday night due to civil unrest or curfew.

The Thin Blue Line seems to be performing well.

Last May, during the George Floyd riots, which channeled the obscene fanaticism of the French Revolution, America’s large city mayors abandoned their most important duty, and passively let mobs vandalize, burn, and loot thousands of businesses, causing 19 deaths, an estimated one to two billion dollars in insured property losses, and even more in uninsured losses.

Yesterday, nearly a year later, the mayors of the Twin Cities learned from their past mistakes and did the right thing almost immediately. On Sunday, 20-year old Duante Wright was accidentally killed during a traffic stop by a Minneapolis officer who mistook her handgun for a taser. At a press conference, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, expressed sympathy for the family of the victim. They also imposed a 7PM curfew, declared zero tolerance for rioting and looting, and called on the National Guard to maintain order.

They learned their lesson the hard way, since their cities were the epicenter of Floyd’s death, and took some of the country’s hardest hit. The Minneapolis riots started the night after Floyd died, and by the third night, rioters were breaking into the back of Minneapolis’ Third Precinct station. MPD officers were ordered not to defend the building. “The front has been breached,” an officer yelled over the radio just before they left the building. “They’re coming in. They’re coming in the back.”[1]

To make their exit,  a squad car crashed through a gate near the station, and led a parade of police vehicles retreating from the parking lot. Officers in riot gear left on foot, past a booing crowd throwing rocks and fireworks. Total surrender. Total humiliation.

Back then, Mayor Frey said he ordered police to surrender the station before it was breached. “The symbolism of a building cannot outweigh the importance of life, of our officers or to the public,” Frey said early the next day. [2]

By Thursday, riots spilled across the Mississippi to St. Paul. More than 170 businesses were damaged or looted, and dozens of fires were reported. Compared to mayors like Seattle’s Jenny Durkan, who let the riots continue in the Capitol Hill Autonomous  Zone (CHAZ) for weeks before clearing the area, or Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, who is still allowing Antifa to burn federal buildings today, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter requested help quickly, not just from local and state police, but from the National Guard.[3]

Back across the river, riots continued for another few days, but largely faded by Saturday, most likely because of the presence over 5,000 Minnesota Guard troops, who had been ordered into the city by Governor Tim Walz. [4]

But in the days before order was restored, it’s estimated that 267 restaurants, 207 retail businesses. 85 grocery stores, 63 gas stations, and 53 homes were damaged or destroyed, many owned by minorities. [5]

That was then. This is now.

At a press conference this afternoon, Governor Walz and both mayors expressed genuine empathy for the family of Duante Wright, but none of them advocated violent reprisals to strike a blow against systemic racism, structural racism, critical race badness, or whatever its name is this week.

Compare this approach to Seattle councilmember Tammy Morales, who said at a June 1, 2020 council meeting “What I don’t want to hear is for our constituents to be told to be civil, not to be reactionary, to be told looting doesn’t solve anything. It does make me wonder why looting bothers people so much more than knowing that across the country, black people are being killed around the country.” [6]

Instead, here are a few of the two mayors’ more admirable statements:

Mayor Frey:
“For our Black communities in particular, I know the effects of the last 12 months have been just a torrential flood gate of all of the pain that have been felt, in many cases for hundreds and hundreds of years. And there’s no playbook for the rawness, for the emotion that that people throughout our city and our state are experiencing right now…

We are united that this anguish that we’re all suffering cannot translate into violence. The anguish we are suffering cannot translate into violence. Destroying livelihoods, destroying locally owned businesses that our communities have poured their hearts and soul into for decades, and the unraveling of the sacrifices that people have made for so long, that cannot, that will not be tolerated. We must see peace tonight. And as of this afternoon, I have declared a state of emergency in the city of Minneapolis. And we are following that up with a curfew that will begin at 7:00 PM tonight. It will go until 6:00 AM tomorrow morning.”

Mayor Carter:
There’s no space in my heart where I accept what happened last night, what’s played out over and over again. There’s no space in my heart where I feel patient about our urgent need to stop this from recurring…

To exploit the death of Duante Wright, to exploit the cause for justice, to exploit the cause for peace, to exploit the calls for a better future as an excuse to wreak havoc and destruction in our neighborhoods. We will not accept that today, tomorrow, yesterday, or ever. I’m proud to stand with the partners that we have. I am confident in our ability in this moment to provide the partnership among our law enforcement agencies, among our jurisdictions, among our city and with the State.”

In both cases, they began with empathy for the victim, and a determination to uncover the truth of the offense. Then they declared no tolerance for vigilante justice, arson, or looting. That’s how decent, city-protecting mayors govern in 2021. So far,* their new-found spines have resulted in a safe tomorrow for the citizens of Minneapolis – St. Paul.

Mayors de Blasio, Garcetti, Lightfoot, Wheeler, Durkan, et. al., are you listening?

*This story will be updated frequently.

[1] https://www.apmreports.org/story/2020/06/30/what-happened-at-minneapolis-3rd-precinct

[2] https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/05/28/minneapolis-protests-george-floyd-death/

[3] https://www.mprnews.org/story/2020/05/28/protests-over-george-floyds-death-spilling-into-st-paul


[5] https://www.startribune.com/minneapolis-st-paul-buildings-are-damaged-looted-after-george-floyd-protests-riots/569930671/

[6] https://mynorthwest.com/1908812/rantz-seattle-council-endorse-looting-riot/

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