Videos from a May 31 Black Lives Matter protest in Minneapolis, Minnesota show police officers wearing heavy tactical gear slashing the tires of multiple parked vehicles, with some officers allegedly targeting members of the media.
Mother Jones has compiled many of the clips into a compilation video, clearly showing police stabbing the tires of parked private vehicles:
These acts of petty vandalism by the police obviously didn’t just impact protesters, though. At the time, many medical workers and members of the press covering the protest returned to their car on the street or their rental car in a lot to find all four wheels flat.
I also have to point out that the police only justified their curfew and presence due to looting and rioting, the very sort of petty crime they’re committing against peaceful individuals.
The police seemed to target vehicles that had been specifically identified as rentals driven by members of the media, who were permitted to be out past the introduced city curfew, according to Mother Jones:
The grey car in the video above was the rental car of Luke Mogelson, a New Yorker writer who typically covers war zones and is now stationed in Minneapolis to write about the protests. As the protest on Sunday evening turned hairy, with law enforcement tear-gassing peaceful groups soon after curfew, Mogelson went to check on his car, showing his press pass to officers along the way. (Media were exempt from the curfew.) One officer took a picture of his press pass and said he would “radio it up the chain so everyone knew that car belonged to the press,” said Mogelson. When he came back later that evening to retrieve his car, officers informed him that the tires were punctured. “They were laughing,” Mogelson recalled. “They had grins on their faces.”
Mogelson wasn’t alone. Jeff Wagner of WCCO, Andrew Kimmel, Philipe Leblanc, Philip Montgomery, and other members of the media all reported having their tires slashed while covering the Minneapolis protest. Montgomery was also shot with a rubber bullet.
Kimmel interviewed a truck driver after capturing video of police slashing the tires of a pickup truck parked in the K-Mart parking lot, who claimed he’d been busy all day on calls to tow people’s cars, including medical worker and news crew vehicles.
This tow truck driver has been here all day. He later told me four @CNN vehicles had their tires slashed here as well. There was an entire row of press vehicles that all had to be towed. pic.twitter.com/LG40yxlrde
— Andrew Kimmel (@andrewkimmel) May 31, 2020
The police involved were identified by The Star Tribune as Anoka County Sheriff’s Office troopers and deputies. The Department of Safety later claimed the vehicles posed a threat to the officers and the crowds, which is bullshit:
Department of Public Safety spokesman Bruce Gordon acknowledged that the tires were cut.
“State Patrol troopers strategically deflated tires … in order to stop behaviours such as vehicles driving dangerously and at high speeds in and around protesters and law enforcement,” he said.
Gordon said the patrol also targeted vehicles “that contained items used to cause harm during violent protests” such as rocks, concrete, sticks, etc.
“While not a typical tactic, vehicles were being used as dangerous weapons and inhibited our ability to clear areas and keep areas safe where violent protests were occurring,” he said.
Hey arseholes, slashing private, parked vehicle tires should never be a police tactic. You’re just terrorists.
Looking for ways to advocate for black lives? Check out this list of resources by our sister site Lifehacker for ways to get involved.