Two law enforcement agencies acknowledged Monday that officers patrolling Minneapolis during the height of recent protests knifed the tires of numerous vehicles parked and unoccupied in at least two locations in the midst of the unrest.
Video and photo images posted on the news outlet Mother Jones show officers in military-style uniforms puncturing tires in the Kmart parking lot at Lake Street and Nicollet Avenue on May 30.
Images from S. Washington Avenue at Interstate 35W also showed officers with knives deflating the tires of two unoccupied cars with repeated jabs on May 31. Department of Public Safety spokesman Bruce Gordon confirmed that tires were cut in "a few locations."
"State Patrol troopers strategically deflated tires … in order to stop behaviors such as vehicles driving dangerously and at high speeds in and around protesters and law enforcement," Gordon said.
Gordon said the patrol also targeted vehicles "that contained items used to cause harm during violent protests" such as rocks, concrete and sticks.
"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. As in all operations of this size, there will be a review about how these decisions were made."
Deputies from Anoka County followed state orders and joined the patrol and also cut the tires on vehicles on Washington Avenue, said Anoka County Sheriff's Lt. Andy Knotz.
Knotz said the deputies got their directions from the state-led Multiagency Command Center [MACC], which was coordinating law enforcement during the protests connected to the death on May 25 of George Floyd.
Towing the vehicles was not an option, Knotz said, because "you could not get any tow trucks in there" because of the mass of people in the area.
Val Ebertz, who was at the protests, witnessed police slashing tires in the Kmart parking lot at Lake Street and Nicollet Avenue in the midst of protests on May 30.
She added these were the same officers who "were tear-gassing and shooting us with rubber bullets to try to push us farther back into the Kmart parking lot."
To recap, cops knifed tires of protesters, got caught on video, turns out they were told to do it.
Who was going to hold them responsible for that, the goddamn cops? It's all games to them, and we're all the bad guys to abuse freely
Long before former officer Derek Chauvin knelt on George Floyd’s neck, the Third Precinct in south Minneapolis had a reputation for being home to police officers who played by their own rules.
One officer kicked a handcuffed suspect in the face, leaving his jaw in pieces. Officers beat and pistol-whipped a suspect in a parking lot on suspicion of low-level drug charges. Others harassed residents of a south Minneapolis housing project as they headed to work, and allowed prostitution suspects to touch their genitals for several minutes before arresting them in vice stings.
These and more substantiated incidents, detailed in court records and police reports, help explain a saying often used by fellow cops to describe the style of policing practiced in the Third: There’s the way that the Minneapolis Police Department does things, and then there’s the way they do it “in Threes.”
Between 2007 and 2017, the city paid out $2.1 million to settle misconduct lawsuits involving Third Precinct officers. Judges have thrown out cases for “outrageous” conduct of the officers, and prosecutors have been forced to drop charges for searches found to be illegal, according to court records.
The brand of aggressive policing on display in the Floyd video has long been standard practice for some Third Precinct officers when dealing with suspects of nonviolent, low-level crimes, often involving people of color, said Abigail Cerra, a commissioner for Minneapolis’ Police Conduct Oversight Commission.
“My clients were constantly getting anal searches,” said Cerra, who also has been a public defender. “Not at the hospital. At the Third Precinct.”
Professional bullies with badges, and the bad cops get enabled by the "good cops". who cover for them.
Yes, maybe their funding needs to be cut and the bad cops need to go.