Minneapolis law enforcement officers, including state patrol troopers, slashed the tires of several cars, admitted Bruce Gordon, Minnesota‘s department of public safety spokesman, according to the Star Tribune.
Images of heavily armed law enforcement officers sticking knives in tires first emerged in a video posted by Mother Jones.
The videos show cars being targeted by law enforcement on May 30 and May 31, at the beginning of the protests, the Star Tribune reported. On May 30, some of those cars were located in the Kmart parking lot at Lake Street and Nicollet Avenue. On May 31, some were located on S. Washington Avenue at Interstate 35W.
Andrew Kimmel, a documentary producer, tweeted a video of his car that showed all four tires slashed:
I just got back to my vehicle parked in a lot and the police slashed, one, two, three, four of my tires. They’ve also slashed every other car that’s parked in this lots tires. Every car that’s parked here has their tires slashed. Every single car. Unbelievable. I can’t get home now.”
That video has been seen more than 1.3 million times. Kimmel also tweeted a video of himself interviewing a tow truck driver who was dealing with the aftermath:
The driver said even journalists and medics were affected:
Everybody’s (cars): random people, medics over there, news crews, random people that were just here to protest and (their) tires slashed … They would have had to be here for a long time to slash every car … We’re so busy it’s unbelievable, I can’t believe it — call after call after call.
Gordon Said Tires Were Slashed To Maintain Public Safety
Gordon said that state patrol troopers were acting on orders when they deflated dozens of car tires. According to what he told the Star Tribune:
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 … 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.
Gordon also said that the troopers were targeting cars that “‘contained items used to cause harm during violent protests’ such as rocks, concrete and sticks,” the Star Tribune reported.
In the news release issued by the Department of Public Safety, nothing regarding the slashing of tires was described as a tactic used by law enforcement.
According to NPR, however, state troopers weren’t the only law enforcement agency slashing tires. The Anoka County Sheriff’s Office told NPR that its officers were also given similar orders which came from the state command center in charge of several Minneapolis police agencies.
The sheriff’s office sent NPR a statement saying that it wasn’t part of slashing tires at Kmart, but did “disable vehicles” that it said were “illegally abandoned” on May 31. “This procedure was done in order to preserve order, life, and safety of both the (protesters) and law enforcement,” the sheriff’s office told NPR.