State officials said Saturday, May 30, that a number of outsiders are fueling the destruction and rioting in the Twin Cities.
Gov. Tim Walz estimated on Saturday morning that about 80 percent of the people causing problems Friday night were from outside Minnesota. Later Saturday, he said, “We’ll find out when this is over. We’ll have a much bigger data set after tonight and we’ll be able to see what’s happening.”
Hennepin County jail records and arrest records in St. Paul show the majority of those in custody gave Minnesota addresses.
Four of 18 people arrested in St. Paul between Thursday and Saturday at 6 a.m. were from out of state — from Fort Worth, Texas, La Crosse, Wis., Grand Forks and Fargo. Two did not have addresses listed.
The rest of the arrests in St. Paul were people from Minnesota:
- Five from St. Paul
- Three from Woodbury
- Two from Minneapolis
- One from St. Louis Park
- One from Mankato.
“The number of arrests we’ve made is a very, very small percent of the people who are out there causing problems,” Steve Linders, a St. Paul police spokesman, said Saturday. “We’ve been focused on protecting people and firefighters so they can protect property. I don’t think you can look at 18 people and say it reflects the total number of people out there causing problems.”
Protests have been underway since George Floyd died in Minneapolis police custody on Monday and unrest has been growing, with rioting, looting and arson being seen. Derek Chauvin, who has been fired from the Minneapolis police department, was charged Friday with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said Saturday that as officials make arrests, they are investigating who those individuals are and whether they are associated with any groups.
“We have seen things like white supremacist organizers posting on platforms about coming to Minnesota,” Harrington said. He added that officials are also looking into connections with organized crime.
The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office provided the following details about arrests from 12:20 a.m. Friday to 11:21 a.m. Saturday, saying 42 of 57 people booked into the jail in connected to protesting gave a Minnesota address:
- 32 were from Minneapolis or St. Paul
- 13 were from other metro cities
- 2 were from non metro cities
- 10 were from other states/information not provided.
A Pioneer Press analysis of Hennepin County jail records revealed details about eight arrested who gave addresses from other states. They were:
- A Miramar, Fla., man, 22 , for burglary
- A Temperance, Mich., man, 27, for riot
- A Chicago man, 19, for burglary
- A Chicago man, 22, for burglary
- A Sutton, Ark., man, 21, for burglary
- A Matteson, Ill., man, 47, for possession of burglary tools
- A Kansas City, Mo., man, 29, for riot
- An Ames, Iowa man, 22, was being held on a weapons charge.
The rest of those in the jail after protest-related arrests were from other Minnesota cities, including Brooklyn Park, Hastings, Blaine, Burnsville, Lakeville, Big Lake, New Brighton and Inver Grove Heights.
U.S. AG: ‘RADICAL ELEMENTS’ HIJACKING PEACEFUL PROTESTS
Attorney General William P. Barr said in a Saturday statement that while the outrage about Floyd’s death was real and legitimate, it is also being exploited by agitators.
“Unfortunately, with the rioting that is occurring in many of our cities around the country, the voices of peaceful protest are being hijacked by violent radical elements,” his statement said.
“Groups of outside radicals and agitators are exploiting the situation to pursue their own separate and violent agenda,” Barr continued. “In many places, it appears the violence is planned, organized, and driven by anarchistic and far left extremists, using Antifa-like tactics, many of whom travel from out of state to promote the violence. We must have law and order on our streets and in our communities, and it is the responsibility of the local and state leadership, in the first instance, to halt this violence.”
Barr also noted that it was a federal crime to “cross state lines or to use interstate facilities to incite or participate in violent rioting. We will enforce these laws.”
Meanwhile, the St. Paul Branch of the NAACP released a statement on Saturday condemning the violence that accompanied protests as a “mockery of our long-standing efforts to create a peaceful society built on mutual respect, justice, and equality for all.”
The NAACP said while it supports protesting “as a legitimate way of expressing the community’s sadness, anger, and frustration at the continued and systematic oppression of people of color in Minnesota and throughout our country” it condemns the violence that accompanied the protests.
Mara H. Gottfried and Mary Divine contributed to this report.