MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The second night of curfew in Minneapolis passed with relative calm, although nearly 50 people were arrested for breaking the curfew.
More than 1,000 law enforcement officers — from police, sheriff’s deputies, and state troopers — were in the streets of downtown Minneapolis overnight. Alongside them were an additional 400 National Guard members.
The Minnesota State Patrol says that 49 arrests were made overnight, mostly for curfew violations. While several knives were confiscated, there were no reports of injuries.
The situation was much more calm relative to Wednesday night, when widespread looting broke out following the spread of misinformation about a man’s suicide on Nicollet Mall.
Officials told WCCO that troopers were being lenient on arrests for those violating curfew, which went into effect at 8 p.m. Thursday. The troopers would ask for identification first, and then ask where people were going, as some were on their way home from work.
Also helping was the group MAD DADS of Minneapolis. The have a direct partnership with Metro Transit and the Downtown Improvement District. The group acts as an intermediate between the community and law enforcement. On Thursday night, they helped get people on city buses to go home.
VJ Smith, the chapter president of MAD DADS of Minneapolis, says the group is on the streets every night working to curb violence. He believes the group’s work will pay off as long as they’re able to be out and build trust within the community.
“I’m tired like most other people, you know,” Smith said. “I’m also energized to know that we’re taking some steps, we’re taking some steps that needed to be taken a long time ago. We are in the position now to change the way America works, to change how we do business, to bring equality and justice to our community.”
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey issued the second curfew Thursday night after upwards of 20 buildings and businesses in downtown Minneapolis were damaged and looted Wednesday. The damage was mostly along Nicollet Mall, a pedestrian corridor.
The looting erupted after police say a Black man suspected in a homicide earlier Wednesday shot himself near the Target store on Nicollet Mall. A rumor spread that police had fatally shot the man, and rioting broke out.
Police released video of the man’s suicide on social media, but it didn’t do much to immediately curb the violence. That video was later taken down.
Community leaders say that Wednesday’s episode highlighted the Black community’s deep mistrust of Minneapolis police, particularly in the wake of George Floyd’s death and the recent shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
In response to the looting, Frey declared a state of emergency, and Gov. Tim Walz used emergency powers to activate the National Guard.
More than 100 people were arrested Wednesday night. Most of those booked into jail were from the Twin Cities.
The cost of the rioting damage remains unknown. For perspective, one liquor store owner told WCCO that he lost half a million dollars in Wednesday night’s looting.