WCCO APP: Click here to download WCCO’s new news app.
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — On Tuesday, Minnesota Senate Republicans released a report that criticizes the response by Gov. Tim Walz and Minneapolis city leaders over the civil unrest that happened in the Twin Cities following the death of George Floyd.
It was the second-most destructive period of civil unrest in United States history, after the Los Angeles riots in 1992. It caused $500 million worth of damage to 1,500 Minnesota properties during the unrest.
But Democrats in charge say the report is purely about politics. The report, following hearings back in July, accuses the governor and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey of failing to realize the seriousness of the riots. It says if they would acted faster, the riots would not have escalated as quickly as they did.
The report also blames Democrats for identifying with the causes promoted by the demonstrators, causing them to lose sight of their responsibility to protect the public from criminal acts committed during the riots.
“What do we do going forward so that we do not experience this type of events again,” Sen. Scott Newman (R-Hutchinson) said.
Senate Democrats blasted back, calling the hearings that led to the report one-sided and said it was far from objective.
Business owners said they feel caught in the middle. Kym Erickson, owner of Soderberg’s Floral and Gift on East Lake Street, mere blocks from the Minneapolis 3rd Precinct, said she felt abandoned during the lawlessness.
“I called my family and told them, ‘I don’t know if you’ll see me in the morning, if I’m alive or dead,’” Erickson said.
She said she hired armed security.
“Every building around us was either being burned down or looted. We had people on the roof with guns. I mean, we were, we had to prepare,” Erickson said.
Walz responded to the report saying, “Frontline folks responded in a noble, heroic manner. They saved lives.” And he added, “A one-sided report coming out right before an election isn’t as helpful. If there’s helpful advice in there I’ll certainly take it.”
A spokesperson for Walz says, “If Minnesota Republicans want to help uphold law and order, they should stop holding up the Governor’s proposals to ensure public safety, including funding for a State Trooper Training Academy as well as the significant costs associated with a robust law enforcement response to civil unrest.”
A spokesperson for Mayor Frey gave this statement to WCCO early Tuesday evening: “Mayor Frey is not interested in partisan, armchair quarterbacking. What he is interested in is a credible, independent, third-party review. The city is moving full speed ahead with a request for proposals to do exactly that.“
The office of St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter denied WCCO’s request for comment.