Mayor Jacob Frey said he made the call to evacuate police officers from the 3rd Precinct before rioters set the building on fire Thursday night as protests continued to boil over in Minneapolis after the death of George Floyd.
What We Know:
- Police said officers were able to safely evacuate as rioters breached the perimeter and started a fire that spread through the building. Shortly after, city officials warned protesters to move from the building after receiving reports that gas lines may have been cut.
- They urged people to move away from the building. In a tweet, Mayor Jacob Frey said the fire department is working to respond to the fires that have been set. However, he added, “We all need to work together to ensure the safety of our friends, family, and Minneapolis residents. And right now working together means clearing the area.”
We're hearing unconfirmed reports that gas lines to the Third Precinct have been cut and other explosive materials are in the building.
If you are near the building, for your safety, PLEASE RETREAT in the event the building explodes.
— City of Minneapolis (@CityMinneapolis) May 29, 2020
- Frey said he made the decision to sacrifice the building and call off officers as rioters moved in. He told reporters early Friday morning that the decision came down to safety for both officers and members of the public.
- According to FOX9 in Minneapolis, after protests throughout the day, looters seized on the chaos, breaking into businesses and making off with whatever they could get their hands on. Others set fires that burned a local AutoZone location along with a construction project and also left damage to a number of other businesses.
Minneapolis is burning again. Here is video before I left … many stores on fire.. it appears they will break into the 3rd precinct. Trying to set it on fire. No more police intervention. No sign of National Guard. I’ll put up more pics and vid pic.twitter.com/591WPn1JcX
— Karen Scullin FOX9 (@kscullinfox9) May 29, 2020
- Other fires involved cars being set ablaze by rioters. Businesses that had boarded up their windows, after having glass smashed in the night before, were again targeted by looters who took down the boards once again.
Overall there was little in terms of police intervention but officers did return to the roof of the precinct building after moving off during mostly peaceful protests earlier in the day. Those officers that did return, fired off flash bangs and tear gas in efforts to disperse the crowd, similar to Tuesday’s events.