MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minneapolis police say a group marched to the 5th Precinct Saturday night, vandalizing the exterior of the building with graffiti and paint. Police say some officers were also targeted with commercial grade fireworks.
Police say officers witnessed 50 to 60 people marching towards the precinct, located at East 31st Street and Nicollet Avenue, at about 10:10 p.m. Officers say it appeared peaceful at first, but the group became violent once arriving at the precinct.
Authorities reported protesters throwing large rocks and paint on the building and on cameras. It was also reported that commercial-grade fireworks were shot at officers, but no one was injured.
Officers from across the city were called in to assist. The protesters fled before officers could stage and arrive.
City workers spent all day Sunday cleaning up by power washing paint and graffiti off the building and sidewalks. WCCO spoke to a woman who lives near the precinct, but wanted to keep her name private.
“It’s upsetting, it definitely is,” she said. “I live a block away and I wanted to come over and see what had happened, and of course when I got here, [I’m] just completely disgusted, and actually pretty heartbroken.”
The city workers cleaning up said they are confident they will be able to get most of the paint off the building. They also said something was thrown at one of the windows to crack it, but not fully break it.
Chief Medaria Arradondo released this statement Sunday:
Last night, individuals marched to the Minneapolis Police Department’s 5th Precinct and proceeded to vandalize the exterior of the building and target officers with commercial-grade fireworks. This unlawful and senseless behavior will not be tolerated. Acts such as these do absolutely nothing to constructively engage and activate true and real needed reforms. The vast majority of the men and women of the MPD who continue to come to work each day and night are doing so to keep all our communities safe and make a positive difference. I support them and their efforts working professionally during this pandemic, amidst an increase in violent crime and as we diligently press forward in creating a new MPD in partnership with our communities.
To all those engaging in peaceful 1st Amendment protected speech and assembly, thank you. To those individuals that make the choice to engage in unlawful and destructive behavior, hijacking peaceful protests, your actions will not be tolerated, and you will be prosecuted to the full extent lawfully.
The neighbor WCCO spoke with said she’s surprised damage like this is still happening nearly three months after George Floyd died.
“This type of message, I don’t think it gets anyone on your side,” she said.
Chief Arradondo says people will be prosecuted for unlawfully damaging buildings in the city. However, there were no arrests Saturday night.