The Minneapolis Police Department’s Fifth Precinct building, situated on the corner of Nicollet and East 31st Street in Lyndale, was thoroughly vandalized Saturday night.
Photos of the aftermath show windows and sidewalks spattered with black and red paint, surrounded by spray painted slogans in blue and black: “ACAB,” “FUCK KKKOPS,” “PIG STY,” and “BLOOD ON YOUR HANDS,” and, simply, “FUCK ALL OF YOU.”
A large message printed in block lettering on a side window reads “BOB KKKROLL,” referring to Minneapolis police union head Bob Kroll, who vowed to go to bat to go to bat for the MPD officers implicated in George Floyd’s murder. Earlier that day, more than 100 Black Lives Matter protesters had rallied outside his home in Hugo, demanding both he and his wife, WCCO reporter Liz Collins, be fired from their respective jobs.
Police spokesperson John Elder told the Star Tribune that somewhere between 50 and 60 people marched to the precinct that night, around 10 p.m. Things started out peaceful, but then, Elder said, the protesters started throwing rocks and paint at the building's exterior and cameras.
Responding officers were reportedly shot at with fireworks. Elder said nobody was injured, and the protesters fled before backup could arrive.
A statement from Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arrardondo said that the “individuals” responsible were “hijacking peaceful protests” with “unlawful and destructive behavior” and would be prosecuted.
“This unlawful and senseless behavior will not be tolerated,” it said. “Acts such as these do absolutely nothing to constructively engage and activate true and real needed reforms…. To all those engaging in peaceful first amendment protected speech and assembly, thank you.”
The Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association (the statewide police union) weighed in on the mess the next day on Twitter.
5th precinct photos from last night. I’m tired of being nice and politically correct to people who destroy, burn and loot. These are not rational people and only want destruction. pic.twitter.com/8zUNckS6tx— Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association (@MNPoliceAssn) August 16, 2020
Plenty of commenters agreed, while others pointed out that “more outrage over spray paint than murder” wasn’t exactly helping the department's or the police in general's image in light of recent events.
A poll commissioned by MPR News, the Star Tribune, and KARE 11 found that only around a quarter of the city’s residents actually had a favorable opinion of the department.
Seventy-three percent said some of the department’s funding should be going to social services like mental health and addiction programs instead. Some specifically expressed frustration with the department’s seeming inability to root out cops that behave badly.
Just last week, an arbitrator ruled that Mark Bohnsack, the former Minneapolis officer fired for the racist Christmas tree decorations in 2018, should be reinstated on the force, following 320 hours of unpaid suspension.
Survey respondents were mixed on the idea of reducing the size of the police department, with 40 percent of the 800 registered voters surveyed in favor, and 44 percent opposed. Nearly half thought a smaller police force would have a negative effect on public safety.