Looters descended on Minneapolis’s Nicollet Mall on Wednesday night after false rumors spread that the police had shot an African American man.
At around 6 p.m. a man who is suspected of committing a homicide walked by Nicollet Mall in the city’s downtown area. Police spotted him and approached, but the man shot himself before police could make an arrest. The incident was captured on a security camera, and video of the suicide was released by police to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, confirming officers’ version of events.
“This video has been released to help quell rumors and hopefully thwart civil unrest,” police spokesman John Elder told the Tribune. “We are able to release the video in this instance because they are city cameras and our officers were not involved in any deadly use of force. Had that been the case, we would have turned all of this over to the [Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.]”
Crowds that gathered at the site of the suicide were convinced that officers had shot the suspect, however. Police in riot gear have arrived at the scene, and looters have smashed windows of stores at the mall.
Sheriff deputies in riot gear just showed up. People continue to try and cross the line they’re holding. I heard them say they are about to start making arrests. pic.twitter.com/4AIApwPwSx
— Courtney Godfrey (@courtneygodfrey) August 27, 2020
“Minneapolis, it’s time to heal. We must rebuild and recover. Dangerous, unlawful behavior will not be tolerated,” Minnesota governor Tim Walz wrote on Twitter. “The State Patrol is headed to Minneapolis to help restore order. I remain in close contact with the city and every state resource stands ready to help bring peace.”
In late May, Minneapolis officers killed African American resident George Floyd while arresting him, setting off massive demonstrations and riots across American cities. Rioters in Minneapolis burned down businesses, a police precinct, and caused millions of dollars in damages.