2020–2022 Minneapolis–Saint Paul racial unrest

In the early 2020s, the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metropolitan area in U.S. state of Minnesota experienced a wave of civil unrest, comprising peaceful demonstrations and riots, against systemic racism towards black Americans, notably in the form of police violence. A number of events occurred beginning soon after the murder of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, by a white Minneapolis police officer on May 25, 2020.[3] National Public Radio characterized the events as cultural reckoning on topics of racial injustice.[4]

2020–2022
Minneapolis–Saint Paul
racial unrest
Part of 2020–2022 United States racial unrest
2020 Minneapolis Unrest (49952677233).jpg
Protesters march in downtown Minneapolis on May 28, 2020, three days after the murder of George Floyd.
DateMay 26, 2020 – present (1 year, 7 months, 4 weeks and 1 day)
Location
Caused by
Goals
MethodsProtests, demonstrations, civil disobedience, civil resistance, riots
StatusOngoing

Many specific protests over Floyd's murder were described as peaceful events, however, Minneapolis–Saint Paul experienced widespread rioting, looting, and property destruction over a three-night period in late May 2020 that resulted in $500 million in property damage—the second-most destructive period of local unrest in United States history, after the 1992 Los Angeles riots.[5][6] Local protests sparked a global protest movement about police brutality and racial justice, and had an effect on state and local policies, local economic conditions, and the well-being of residents.

Unrest over Floyd's murder continued as protesters sought justice for Floyd and made broader calls to address structural racism in Minnesota and residents reacted to other incidents, with many protest events part of the larger Black Lives Matter movement.[7] While some demonstrations were violent and generated controversy, protesters from varying backgrounds came rallied against what they perceived as the normalization of the killings of innocent black lives.[8][9][10]

Events in 2020Edit

Arrangement is chronological by the beginning date of each notable event series; timelines for some topics overlap.

George Floyd protests, May 26–ongoingEdit

 
Protesters marching in Minneapolis on May 26, 2020, the day after Floyd's murder. A protester's sign reads, "Justice for George Floyd" and "#I CANT BREATHE".

Protests began in Minneapolis on May 26, the day after the murder of George Floyd and when a video of the incident had circulated widely in the media. By mid day, people had gathered by the thousands at the location of Floyd's murder and set up a makeshift memorial.[11][12] Organizers of the rally emphasized keeping the protest peaceful.[13] Protesters and Floyd's family demanded that all four officers at the scene of his arrest and death be charged with murder and that judicial consequences were swift.[14][15] That evening, the protest rally turned into a march to the Minneapolis Police Department's third precinct station where the officers were believed to work. After the main protest group disbanded, a small skirmish the night of May 26 resulted in minor property damage at the station and the police firing tear gas at demonstrators.[5][7][12][13]

Protests were held at several locations throughout the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metropolitan area in subsequent days. The situation escalated the nights of May 27 to 29 where widespread arson, rioting, and looting took place, which were noted as a contrast to daytime protests that were characterized as mostly peaceful events.[5] Some initial acts of property destruction on May 27 by a 32-year-old man with ties to white supremacist organizations, who local police investigators said was deliberately inciting racial tension, led to a chain reaction of fires and looting.[16] The unrest, including demonstrators overtaking the Minneapolis third precinct police station and setting it on fire the night of May 28, garnered significant national and international media attention.[7] After state officials mobilized Minnesota National Guard troops in its largest deployment since World War II,[17][18] the violent unrest subsided and mostly peaceful protests resumed.[7]

Violence and property destruction in late May 2020 resulted in two deaths,[19][20] 617 arrests,[21][22] and upwards of $500 million in property damage to 1,500 locations, making it the second-most destructive period of local unrest in United States history, after the 1992 Los Angeles riots.[6][23][24][22]

George Floyd Square occupation protest, May 26, 2020–presentEdit

 
George Floyd Square, August 2020

On May 26, the day after George Floyd's murder, an occupation protest emerged at the East 38th Street and Chicago Avenue intersection in Minneapolis of the arrest incident.[25][26] Protesters turned the area into a makeshift memorial and erected barricades to keep automobile traffic out, and police officers largely avoided the area in the following months. Thousands of visitors protested and grieved at the site, which was adorned with public art installments and described as like a "shrine".[27] When Minneapolis city officials attempted to negotiate the re-opening of the intersection in August 2020, protesters demanded that the city meet a list of 24 demands before removing cement barricades around the intersection.[28]

The Minneapolis Planning Commission recommend to the city council that the length of Chicago Avenue between 37th and 39th streets be named as “George Perry Floyd Jr Place”[29] and the city designated the intersection as one of seven cultural districts in the city.[30] The city also allocated $4.7 million to establish a permanent memorial at the site, though by the end of 2020, the city was unable to reach agreement with community organizations who had presented officials with a list of demands before opening the intersection back up.[31][32] The occupation protests persisted in 2021.[33][34] City crews removed cement barricades at the intersection on June 3, 2021, as part of a phased reopening process[35] and vehicular traffic resumed several weeks later on June 20, 2021, after having being closed for over a year.[36][37]

Despite the street intersection reopening to vehicular traffic, by the end of 2021, the occupied protest at George Floyd Square had persisted for 19 months.[38]

Michael Freeman protests, May 27, 2020–late 2020Edit

 
A volunteer campaigns to recall Michael O. Freeman, June 11, 2020

In the aftermath of Floyd's murder, protests were held regarding Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman with several taking place outside his Minneapolis home, beginning on May 27, 2020.[39] Freeman was the attorney for Hennepin County and initial prosecutor of the four Minneapolis police officers involved in the murder of George Floyd. Protests were outraged by comments Freeman made on May 28, 2020, when he said, "There is other evidence that does not support a criminal charge", when referencing how officials were reviewing evidence about whether to charge the police officers with crimes. Freeman later said the remarks were misinterpreted, and were meant to convey a throughout review of all available evidence.[39]

Hennepin County Sheriff's Office's office deployed deputies and the county paid for private security to protect alleged threats to Freeman and his home.[39] On May 30, 2020, more than 1,000 protesters gathered outside Freeman's home and some demonstrators caused minor damage to the house.[40] A protest group gathered at the Hennepin County Government Center on June 12 to demand Freeman's resignation over his handling of previous officer-involved shootings in Minneapolis, such as the case involving the shooting of Jamar Clark and prosecution of former police officer Mohamed Noor in the shooting of Justine Damond.[41] A group also launched a petition drive to have Freeman recalled.[42]

Freeman later sold his house in late 2020 at less than the assessed value. Some protesters viewed Freeman's home move as a success of their efforts to pressure him politically.[39]

Police abolition movement, June 6, 2020–November 2, 2021Edit

 
A "defund police" rally at Powderhorn Park, June 7, 2020

Protesters over the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis and elsewhere began calling for reforms of the police forces, including defunding, downsizing, or abolishing traditional police departments. Led by local organization Black Visions Collective, thousands of protesters marched in Minneapolis on June 6, 2020.[43] The march ended at the home of mayor Jacob Frey. The crowd demanded that he come outside and asked if he supported abolishing the city's police force. When Frey responded he did not support abolishing the police, the crowd ordered him to leave and booed him away.[44][45][43]

On June 7, 2020, at a Powderhorn Park rally organized by Black Visions Collective and several other black-led social justice organizations, nine of the 13 members of the Minneapolis City Council vowed before a large crowd to dismantle the city's police department.[46][47] Activists that organized the rally wanted to replace the police department with unarmed public safety responders, but concrete details about it were less defined.[48][49]

The effort to replace the Minneapolis police department with a public safety department continued in 2020 and 2021. A ballot measure was put before Minneapolis voters on the municipal election on November 2, 2021. If passed, city officials would have 30 days to establish a Department of Public Safety, though the exact structure of the new department, the services it would provide, the number of police officers it employs, and its funding level would be determined through a series of city ordinances.[50] Voters rejected the ballot measure, which required at least 51% to pass, with 80,506 or 56.2 percent of votes cast for "no" versus 62,813 or 43.8% of votes for "yes".[51]

Christopher Columbus statue toppling, June 10Edit

 
A demonstrator raises a fist next to the empty pedestal, June 10, 2020

An American Indian Movement group tore down a statue of Christopher Columbus outside the state capitol building in Saint Paul on June 10 as the global protest movement turned towards removing monuments and memorials with controversial legacies.[52]

Members of the American Indian Movement, led by Mike Forcia of the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians, announced via social media their intentions to topple the statue earlier in the day. State Patrol troopers and a Department of Public Safety tribal liaison met with organizers prior to the event,[53] encouraging them to follow a legal process for removal[54] and warning them that they could face charges for destruction of public property.[53][54] Forcia countered that they had already waited far too long, having worked through official channels for years without success.[53][54][55] American Indian Movement members and other demonstrators, including Dakota and Ojibwe community members,[53] looped a rope around the statue and pulled it off its granite pedestal. The group drummed, sang songs, and took photos with the fallen statue. No one was arrested at the event. State Patrol troopers watched from a distance and did not intervene.[54] Troopers eventually formed a line to protect the statue before it was transported offsite.[53]

In December, Michael Forcia of Ramsey County agreed to a plea deal and accepted 100 hours in community service in connection with the incident. Officials estimated the cost to repair the statue would be over $154,000.[56]

Minneapolis police union protests, June 12Edit

 
A protester holds a sign at the Minneapolis police federation on June 12, 2020

The Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, the union representing Minneapolis Police Department officers, and its elected leader were the subject of several protest events. Protesters gathered at the Police Officers Federation building in Minneapolis on June 12 to demand the resignation of Bob Kroll, head of the city's police union, who had characterized the protests and Black Lives Matter as a "terrorist organization". Thousands of people stretched in every direction from the federation building and listened to speeches by community leaders.[57][41] Protesters returned on June 25. Kroll had earlier said he would not step down from the post. Protesters said they would continue protesting until their demands were met.[58]

Juneteenth commemoration, June 19Edit

 
Juneteenth march in north Minneapolis, June 19, 2020

On June 19, dozens of Juneteenth commemorations were held in the Twin Cities metropolitan area, including in Minneapolis near the former third precinct station and at the location where Floyd was murdered. Participants at the events connected recent instances of police brutality to the historic legacy of slavery in the United States.[59] The Minnesota Black Lives Matter chapter that rallied at the state capitol building in Saint Paul called on state lawmakers who were meeting in a special legislative session to agree on police reform measures.[60] Walz issued a proclamation declaring eight minutes 46 seconds of silence at 11:00 a.m. CDT on June 9, 2020, in memory of Floyd, which coincided with the beginning of Floyd's funeral in Houston, Texas[61] He also proclaimed June 19 as "Juneteenth Freedom Day" and called on the legislature to make it an annual state holiday.[62]

Calvin Griffith statute removal, June 19Edit

The Minnesota Twins removed the statute of former owner Calvin Griffith outside the team's Target Field baseball stadium in Minneapolis on June 19. In a statement, the team said the "statue reflects an ignorance on our part of systemic racism present in 1978, 2010 and today". Griffith's legacy was tarnished after racist comments he made in a 1978 speech at the Waseca Lions Club, but a statute of him was placed in the stadium's plaza when it opened in 2010.[63][64]

State capitol protest, June 24Edit

In June, George Floyd protests in Minneapolis–Saint Paul broadened to issues of historic racism and police brutality, with events occurring nearly each day. Protesters gathered outside the governor's mansion in Saint Paul on June 24 and called on the governor to reconvene the legislature in a special session for the purpose of passing police reform measures. Lawmakers had recently adjourned a special session without agreeing to legislation on the topic.[65]

Breonna Taylor protests, June 26Edit

 
A Breonna Taylor cardboard cutout at a rally at the state capitol building in Saint Paul, June 2020

Protesters seeking justice for Breonna Taylor held a "Red Sunday" march on June 26 and gathered at several locations in the Twin Cities.[66]

Pride parade protests, June 28Edit

Despite cancellation of official Twin Cities Pride event, protesters on June 28 gathered in downtown Minneapolis and called for justice for Floyd, greater protections for black transgender people, community control of policing, and the freeing of "political prisoners".[67] Restrictions on public gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic prevented organizers from holding a more celebratory event of LGBTQ+ people as in past years, which had been among the most well-attended Pride parade events in the United States.[68] The 2020 Pride parade in the Twin Cities intersected with the Black Lives Matter movement and returned to the way it began, as a protest movement.[69]

Hachalu Hundessa protests, June 30Edit

On June 30, several hundred protesters from Minnesota's Oromo diaspora gathered outside the Minnesota state capitol building in Saint Paul to protest the killing of Hachalu Hundessa, a popular musician and political activist who was shot and killed in Addis Ababa on June 28, resulting in considerable unrest in Ethiopia. In the evening of July 1, hundreds of protesters blocked Interstate 94 in Minneapolis to call for justice for Hundessa and the Oromo people.[70]

"Black 4th" rallies, July 4Edit

Thousands took part in several peaceful demonstrations in Minneapolis and called for racial equity and justice for George Floyd on July 4. Organizers of two marches, dubbed "Black 4th", through predominately white areas of the city sought to continue the momentum for police reform and raise awareness about social justice issues.[71][72]

Philando Castile commemoration, July 6Edit

Four years after the shooting of Philando Castile by a police officer in the Twin Cities' suburb of St. Anthony, several Black Lives Matter rallies were held on July 6 that commemorated Castile and connected it to the global protest movement about racism and police brutality sparked by Floyd's murder.[73]

Calvin Horton Jr. protests, July 21Edit

 
Protesters at the boarded-up Cadillac Pawn shop in Minneapolis, July 21, 2020

On May 27, during unrest over the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Calvin Horton Jr., a 43-year-old man from Minneapolis, was fatally shot by the owner of the Cadillac Pawn & Jewelry shop who believed he was burglarizing his business. The incident took place on East Lake Street about one mile (1.6 km) from the main protest sites.[74][75] The shop owner was arrested the night of the shooting and held in Hennepin County Jail for several days, but he was released pending further investigation.[76] There were no new developments in the case by July 21, 2020, when family and supporters of Horton, Jr. protested outside the store and demanded the owner be charged with murder.[76]

In December 2020, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman's office declined to file charges against the pawn shop owner after a six-month investigation due to a lack of evidence to prove the shooting was not self-defense.[77]

Powderhorn Park encampment closure, August 14Edit

 
Encampment in Powderhorn Park, July 20, 2020.

A sprawling encampment at Powderhorn Park generated controversy as it grew to 560 tents by mid July.[78] Numerous sexual assaults, fights, and drug use at the encampment generated alarm for nearby residents. The city had made a push to connect people experiencing homeless with services, including establishing three new shelters, and shelter beds remained available. Officials adopted a de-escalation for disbanding camps due to the ongoing civil unrest, and when they attempted to remove tents at non-permitted sites, they faced opposition from a sanctuary movement and protest groups.[79] After violence and multiple sexual assaults at Powderhorn Park camp site, the park board cleared it of tents on August 14, 2020, as police faced off with protesters and fired pepper spray.[80]

Sympathy protest for Portland, Oregon, July 23Edit

On July 23, Minnesotans gathered at a federal courthouse and marched through downtown Minneapolis in opposition to the deployment of federal troops to protests in Portland, Oregon.[81]

Bob Kroll residential protest, August 15Edit

A 100-person protest group led by Nekima Levy Armstrong's Racial Justice Network gathered outside Kroll's home in Hugo, Minnesota on August 15 to call for his resignation from the Minneapolis police union. Protesters also criticized Kroll's partner, WCCO television reporter Liz Collins, for having a conflict of interest in stories about police violence. Remarks by John Thompson, a Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor candidate for the state legislature from St. Paul, drew controversy. Thompson said in his speech, "You think we give a [expletive] about burning Hugo down?" and also "[Expletive] Hugo."

Some of Thompson's remarks were said to be directed at children who were present. The event also featured the bashing of piñata effigies of Kroll and Collins. Several local media members condemned the symbolic display of violence against a woman journalist. Inflammatory rhetoric at the event was also condemned by leaders of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor and Republican parties, and led to an apology statement from the Thompson.[82][10][83]

Police station vandalized, August 15Edit

Late at night in Minneapolis on August 15, a group of approximately 50 people marched to the city's fifth police precinct station in what was initially described as a peaceful protest, but it became violent when people threw rocks at windows, threw paint on the building, and shot commercial-grade fireworks at police officers, before fleeing the scene. In statements, Mayor Frey and Minneapolis City Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins said that the destruction was not the solution to issues surrounding policing.[9]

Jacob Blake protests, August 24Edit

 
Minneapolis police officers with riot gear, August 24, 2020

On August 23, Jacob Blake, an African-American man, was shot four times in the back during an arrest by police officer Rusten Sheskey.[84][85] The incident occurred in Kenosha, Wisconsin as police officers were attempting to arrest Blake. In reaction to the incident, protests and unrest occurred in Wisconsin and other places in the United States. On August 24 in Minneapolis, a 100-person protest over Blake's shooting took place in the city's downtown area, and after the main protest group disbanded, some protesters became violent and broke windows and threatened to breach a jail facility, resulting in 11 arrests.[86] One Minneapolis police officer suffered a broken hand during a confrontation with a demonstrator.[87]

Riots over false rumors of a police shooting, August 26–28Edit

 
Hennepin County sheriff officers on patrol after looting and vandalism, August 27, 2020

Rioting and looting in downtown Minneapolis came as reaction to false rumors that Eddie Sole Jr., a 38 year old African American man, had been shot and killed by Minneapolis police officers on August 26.[88] Surveillance video showed that Sole Jr. had died by suicide, a self-inflicted gunshot to the head, during a manhunt for a homicide suspect in which he was the person of interest as police officers closed in to arrest him after a foot chase.[89] Controversially, the police released the CCTV camera footage of the suicide in attempts to stop the unrest.[90]

Overnight destruction the night of August 26 led to at least 132 arrests for violence and looting,[91] as damage to 77 properties occurred in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metropolitan region,[92][93] including five buildings that were set on fire, including the Target Corporation headquarters building.[92][94][95] Minnesota Governor Tim Walz declared a state of emergency and deployed National Guard troops, and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey imposed on overnight curfew.[96] Nearly 1,000 members of law enforcement and 400 Minnesota National Guard troops amassed in the metro area to prevent more lawlessness, and calmness prevailed after August 27.[97][98]

Wall of Forgotten Natives, September 3Edit

 
Franklin-Hiawatha encampment north gate, October 1, 2020

Two years after a large camp was disbanded near Hiawatha and Franklin avenues in Minneapolis, on September 3 a group backed by protesters and American Indian Movement advocates re-occupied a site they referred to as the Wall of Forgotten Natives. The site had been barricaded by the state in 2018 when an encampment closed after experiencing drug overdoses, spread of disease, violence, fires, and deaths. In September 2020, reoccupation of the encampment with 40 tents came after the city closed another encampment on 13th Avenue due to health and safety concerns and after officials sought help from nonprofit organizations. Reestablishment of the Hiawatha encampment also came during time of increasing confrontation between Minneapolis officials and homeless advocates, as the city had hoped to close all encampments by October.[79]

Pretrial hearing for Chauvin, Lane, and Keung, and Thao protests, September 11Edit

Hundreds rallied outside the Hennepin County Government Center, a downtown Minneapolis local government and court building, on September 11 during a pretrial hearing for the four police officers at the scene of Floyd's murder—former officers Chauvin, Lane, and Keung, and Thao.[99] Confrontations between some in the crowd and the officers' attorney were described as "angry". On November 5, defense attorneys cited the exchange on September 11 and safety concerns in their arguments in court to have a change of venue to another jurisdiction for the trial, but the Peter Cahill, the presiding judge, rejected their motion.[100]

Blocking the third precinct, September 16Edit

After the third precinct station burned down during the late May riots, police officers worked out the convention center in downtown Minneapolis.[101] In August, officials pursued a lease agreement for a temporary police station at a privately owned building on Minnehaha Avenue in the Seward neighborhood. A neighborhood group that supported the police abolition movement pushed back against the city and organized a "Blocked the Precinct Block party" protest rally near the site.[102] The city's lease agreement fell apart in September after opposition from community groups and threats of violence against the property owner and police officers. Police investigated threats to burn the property down and the building was tagged with anti-police graffiti, including a call for “the literal deaths of individual police officers”.[101]

Derek Chauvin bail protests, October 7Edit

In October 7, protesters took to the streets and held rallies at several places in Minneapolis to express anger over the release of former Minneapolis Police Department officer Derek Chauvin on bail. Chauvin was the officer who murdered George Floyd on May 25 by kneeling on his neck for over nine minutes, suffocating him.. Chauvin was later arrested and charged with murder in connection with the incident, but he posted $1 million bail for his release pending trial. Governor Walz sent 100 National Guardsmen, as well as 100 state police troops and 75 conservation officers, to keep the peace.[103] Law enforcement made 51 arrests late at night on October 7, of which 49 were for misdemeanor offences such as unlawful assembly, one arrest for assault, and one arrest for having an outstanding felony warrant.[104]

Election night demonstration, November 3Edit

 
A police officer with a rifle during protests on November 3, 2020

Several business in Minneapolis and Saint Paul boarded up windows and doors on November 3 preparing for possible unrest related to the election. Some of the businesses had suffered damages during the aftermath of George Floyd's murder, and wanted to be prepared for the possibility of further unrest. The Minnesota National Guard was placed on standby and police forces in the two cities activated extra staff.[105] A group of demonstrators marching behind an "America is Over" banner made their way through Uptown in Minneapolis late at night on Tuesday. Minneapolis police officers kept their distance as the group blocked several intersections, spray painted storefronts, and threw traffic signs and debris into the street. When protesters shot fireworks at officers and refused to disburse, the police advanced and made 14 arrests for suspicion of rioting and fourth-degree assault. No injuries were reported.[106]

Anti-Trump rally on Interstate 94, November 4Edit

 
Protesters on Interstate 94 in Minneapolis on November 4, 2020

Part of a national day of protests,[107] on November 4, several social justice organizations converged for protest marches through Minneapolis with the mantra, "Don't Let Trump Steal the Election". After marching through downtown, protesters marched onto Interstate 94. As demonstrators attempted to exit the highway, Minneapolis police and Minnesota state patrol officers kettled and arrested 646 people for public nuisance and unlawful assembly, blocking traffic for several hours. Most of those arrested were initially cited and released.[108]

A 19-year-old woman from Golden Valley was charged with felony second-degree riot for pointing a laser in a police officer's eyes, and a 29-year-old woman from Minneapolis was charged with fourth-degree assault and obstructing the legal process for kicking a police officer.[109] The charge against the 19-year old woman, who tried to take a plea deal, were later dropped by the judge.[107]

The mass arrest of 646 people was the largest in recent Minnesota state history. Activists demanded that charges be dropped against demonstrators. The Minneapolis City Attorney's Office later pursued charges for 588 of the cases, stating that the demonstration was not protected by the First Amendment as it broke several laws and endangered the safety of motorists and pedestrians.[107] Several hundred demonstrators accepted plea agreements to suspend prosecution in lieu of a $175 fine and completion of six hours of community service. About 280 people rejected plea agreements.[107]

Thanksgiving Day statue vandalism, November 26Edit

In the early morning hours of November 26, a statute of George Washington at Washburn Fair Oaks Park in Minneapolis was toppled and defaced with anticolonial graffiti. A few miles away at BF Nelson Park, a monument depicting three generations of pioneers was spray painted with the words "no thanks", "no more genocide", "decolonize", and "land back". The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board said they were investigating the incidents, but were aware of the controversy about the historic context of the statutes. The vandalism came six months after a protest group toppled a Christopher Columbus statue outside the Minnesota state capitol building in Saint Paul.[110]

Reaction to the killing of Dolal Idd, December 30Edit

 
The secured crime scene in Minneapolis on December 30, 2020.

Protests emerged the evening of December 30 after police shot and killed a man at a Holiday gas station near the intersection Cedar Avenue and East 36th Street in Minneapolis who was later identified as Dolal Idd. The shooting happened at approximately 6:15 p.m. less than a one mile (1.6 km) from the location where George Floyd was murdered in May[111] and it was the first fatal police shooting in the city since then.[112] Few details were known about the shooting incident as approximately 100 protesters gathered at the scene. Some protesters shouted expletives and threw snowballs at police officers. Officers prepared to use pepper spray if assaulted by demonstrators. By late evening, the scene was more calm as protesters blocked an intersection and built a bonfire.[113] Several people attended a vigil on December 31 near the intersection of Cedar Avenue and East 36th Street for Idd and other victims of police violence.[112]

New Year’s Eve riot, December 31Edit

 
Minneapolis police officers on duty during protests in the early morning hours of January 1, 2021.

Seventy-five demonstrators gathered in downtown Minneapolis on December 31 to protest police brutality. Police learned of the rally from a social media posting calling on people to wear black clothing and masks and to help "burn the precincts & the prisons [sic]". From the downtown area, demonstrators walked to Commons Park near U.S. Bank Stadium, where police observed the group shooting fireworks at motorists, painting graffiti on the walls of local government buildings, and disrupting traffic.[114] That night, authorities gave orders for a crowd to disperse, but some people refused to leave. At least 15 people were detained for allegedly rioting and 21 people were cited and released.[115] Five people were charged with felony riot and for being armed with a dangerous weapon.[114]

The demonstration was scheduled several weeks prior and was unrelated to the killing of Dolal Idd in Minneapolis on December 30.[115]

Events in 2021Edit

Arrangement is chronological by the beginning date of each notable event series; timelines for some topics overlap.

Dolal Idd protest march, January 3Edit

 
Protest at Cedar Avenue and East 36th Street in Minneapolis, January 3, 2021.

As many as 1,000 protesters on January 3, 2021, marched peacefully in south Minneapolis to express outrage over the killing of Dolal Idd by Minneapolis police and a controversial search of the Idd family home by the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office.[116]

Downtown Minneapolis racial justice protest, January 9Edit

Several hundred people gathered in downtown Minneapolis on January 9, 2021, to protest racial injustice at a rally that featured speeches, hand-drawn signs, and chats. Protesters connected Dolal Idd's death on December 30, 2020, to George Floyd and Jacob Blake, a black man shot and wounded by Kenosha, Wisconsin police in 2020. The week prior to the downtown Minneapolis gathering, a Wisconsin prosecutor declined to press charges against the police officer that shot Blake, which protesters at the rally objected to.[117]

Protesters then marched from the Hennepin County Government Center to the Minneapolis Police Department's first precinct station for more speeches and chants. The protest group expressed outrage over the mob that stormed the United States Capitol building on January 6, 2021, and speakers contrasted the recent police-related homicides in Minneapolis to the mob of apparent white supremacists that overwhelmed Capitol police in Washington, D.C. who took little action to stop them.[117]

Presidential inauguration protest, January 20Edit

 
"Biden is not the solution, keep fighting" sign at George Floyd Square, January 20, 2021.

On the day of the presidential inauguration of Joe Biden, nearly 120 members of several progressive organizations held a peaceful rally in Minneapolis to pressure the incoming Biden administration to commit to several left-wing policy positions during its first 100 days in office, such as to reverse Trump administration policies affecting immigrant and minority communities. Protesters gathered at South High School and marched along Lake Street past the Minneapolis Police Department's third precinct building that was set on fire in May 2020 after George Floyd's murder.[118] The day's events were organized by the local Black Lives Matter chapter and other social justice organizations. The groups demands also included dropping criminal charges against people who were prosecuted during the 2020 George Floyd protests in Minneapolis–Saint Paul and the 600 people who were arrested on November 4, 2020, for blocking traffic on Interstate 94.[119][120]

Police reform protests, March 6Edit

Approximately 150 people marched and rallied at the governor's mansion in Saint Paul ahead of the trial of Derek Chauvin scheduled for March 8, 2021. The event, organized by Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence, sought to pressure state and local officials to enact police reform legislation and re-evaluate cases were people died under police pursuit or arrest.[121] In another protest march, demonstrators in Minneapolis marched from the George Floyd Square to the Hennepin County Government Center and back.[122]

Trial of Derek Chauvin protests, March 7–April 19Edit

 
Protest march in Minneapolis, March 7, 2021.

On March 7, 2021, several hundred protesters marched in downtown Minneapolis and rallied outside the Hennepin County Government Center building to mourn George Floyd and call for reform of policing. The event, dubbed the "'I Can't Breathe' Silent March For Justice" by its organizers, came one day ahead of jury selection in the trial of Derek Chauvin slated for March 8. Protesters carried a white-colored replica coffin adorned with red flowers. Another group of faith leaders, held a "Pray for MN" gathering at the government center building later that afternoon.[122]

Approximately a thousand protesters gathered peacefully outside a downtown courthouse as Chauvin's trial commenced on March 8 to call for justice for Floyd and raise broader issues of racial injustice. Officials had surrounded the facility with a temporary concrete barrier, metal fencing, and barbed wire in anticipation of potential unrest. Protests and rallies planned for the George Floyd Square were halted for several days after a fatal shooting there on March 6, 2021.[123]

On March 28, 2021, the day before opening statements in the trial of Derek Chauvin, several rallies and protests were held in Minneapolis. The family of George Floyd and Al Sharpton hosted a vigil at the Greater Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Minneapolis. Separately, protesters marched in downtown Minneapolis to demand justice for Floyd and rallied at the Hennepin County Government Center and City Hall, and some demonstrators parked cars on the Metro light-rail tracks, which closed train traffic for several hours. At 38th and Chicago Avenue, the street intersection where Floyd was murdered, a group of people who self-identified as "anarchists" and "anti-fascists" held a training workshop at the square on how to avoid arrest and keep calm if detained by police. Protesters claimed that the street intersection was not public property and demanded that journalists leave the area before the training workshop began.[124]

The George Floyd Square remained an important gathering place during the trial of Derek Chauvin for people protesting racial injustice and seeking justice for Floyd. The square hosted daily visitors from around the United States who made pilgrimages to the intersection.[125] Groups of protesters also gathered outside Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis during the trial of Derek Chauvin and marched on the streets calling for justice.[126] On April 6, several civil rights leaders, including Al Sharpton and former New York Governor David Paterson, led a rally outside the government building and prayed for the conviction of Derek Chauvin.[127] The trial concluded on April 19, 2021, and the jury began deliberations.[128]

"Stop Asian Hate" rally, March 28Edit

Hundreds of people, and more than 20 community organizations, participated in a "Stop Asian Hate" rally at the state capitol building in Saint Paul on March 28, 2021. The event was in reaction to recent Atlanta spa shootings in the U.S. state of Georgia where eight people had died, most of whom were Asian-American women.[129]

Daunte Wright protests, April 11–December 23Edit

 
Protest after the killing of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, April 11, 2021

On April 11, 2021, at 1:48 p.m., an officer with the police department of Brooklyn Center, a suburb of Minneapolis-Saint Paul, shot 20-year-old Daunte Wright, a black man, during a traffic stop. Wright had an outstanding warrant for his arrest. As officers attempted to detain him, a struggle ensued and Wright re-entered his vehicle. An officer discharged their firearm, believing they were using their taser gun instead, striking Wright before he drove off.[130] Wright crashed his vehicle several blocks away. Though EMS arrived and attempted to revive him, Wright was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. Wright's girlfriend was also a passenger in the car. She sustained non-life threatening injuries from the crash and was transported to the hospital.[131][132][133][134][135]

The event unfolded as the trial of Derek Chauvin—the police officer who on May 25, 2020, knelt on George Floyd's neck for several minutes as he died—was underway in nearby Minneapolis. Wright's death occurred approximately 10 miles (16 km) from the street intersection where Floyd was murdered.[136] As news of the Brooklyn Center incident spread, family members of Wright, neighbors to the car crash, and protesters began gathering at the car crash scene in Brooklyn Center in what was initially a peaceful demonstration.[132][131][133] Several protesters came from another rally organized by families of people who had been killed by police, that they had held earlier in the day in nearby Saint Paul, Minnesota.[137] The crowd grew to several hundred people by evening as they demanded more information from police investigators. As tension at the scene rose over the ensuing hours, police in tactical gear arrived, formed a line, and moved in when demonstrators began climbing on police vehicles and throwing bricks.[132][131][133]

Over the proceeding days, tense protests and sporadic looting took place and resulted in the deployment of the Minnesota National Guard, Minnesota State Patrol, and Hennepin County sheriff's office. Thousands of people participated in protests and rallies in Brooklyn Center and other locations. Authorities clashed with some protesters, resulting in several dozen arrests.[138]

Demonstrations awaiting the Chauvin trial verdict, April 19Edit

 
Justice for George Floyd March in Minneapolis during jury deliberations on April 19, 2021

The trial of Derek Chauvin concluded in Minneapolis just after 5 p.m. on April 19, 2021, and the jury began deliberations the same evening. The trial had been one of the most closely watched cases of police brutality in the United States. Minnesota Governor Tim Walz declared a peacetime emergency and deployed 3,000 Minnesota National Guard troops and state patrol officers to assist local law enforcement. He also sought deployment of law enforcement officers from nearby states. Some schools in the metropolitan area announced plans to proactively move to distance learning and business had been boarding up out of worries of potential unrest. The killing of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center on April 11, 2021, and the subsequent protests, intersected with the looming verdict. Days earlier, U.S. Representative Maxine Waters' told demonstrators in Minnesota that they should "stay on the street" and "get more confrontational" if Chauvin's trial resulted in acquittal.[139]

On April 19, 2021, twenty activist groups coordinated a large demonstration and march through the streets in Minneapolis near the Hennepin County Government Center building where the trial of Derek Chauvin was held. Protesters made several demands: lengthy sentences for the officers involved in George Floyd's murder, police reform legislation in Minnesota, to have charged dropped against demonstrators in Brooklyn Center and at other recent events, and for officials to end Operation Safety Net and other counter-protest measures. Protesters and law enforcement authorities did not engage with one another and the event was peaceful.[128][140] A protest group of about 40-50 people gathered outside the Brooklyn Center police station that evening.[141]

Protest events occurred without incident and officials described them as "peaceful". Officials with the Operation Safety Net also reported three business burglaries in Minneapolis and that a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources vehicle deployed for potential unrest was broken into and had a firearm stolen from it. Officials did not make any arrests connected to April 19 events.[141]

Chauvin verdict announcement demonstrations, April 20Edit

 
Crowd gathers for the verdict announcement in the trial of Derek Chauvin, April 20, 2021

Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murdering George Floyd on April 20, 2021. People gathered outside the Hennepin County Government Center where the trial was held and at the 38th and Chicago Avenue street intersection in Minneapolis where Floyd was murdered, to await the verdict at approximately 4 p.m. Crowds chanted in approval as the verdict was read that found Chauvin guilty on all charges.[142] As news of the Chauvin verdict spread, thousands of people marched in downtown Minneapolis and others gathered at 38th and Chicago Avenue in elation over the outcome. Protesters also called for reforms to policing and justice for other black men killed by police.[143][144]

Dight Avenue name change petition, JuneEdit

In mid 2021, a petition drive led by disability activist Noah McCourt requested that the City of Minneapolis rename Dight Avenue, a street in the Longfellow community that had been named decades earlier for the controversial Charles Fremont Dight.[145] After consulting with residents on Dight Avenue and offering several options,[146] city officials decided to honor John Cheatham's legacy of racially integrating the city’s fire department by renaming Dight Avenue after him, with the change taking place in 2022.[147][148]

Winston Boogie Smith protests and Uptown unrest, June 3–November 3Edit

 
Minneapolis police and demonstrators on West Lake Street, June 4, 2021

Winston Boogie Smith, a 32-year-old black man, was shot and killed by law enforcement authorities on June 3, 2021, as they attempted to apprehend him at a parking ramp in the Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis. Protests following the killing began on June 3 and continued for several days, primarily in Uptown.[149][150][151] Soon after the shooting, Smith's family demanded greater law enforcement transparency and the release of any surveillance footage that might have captured the incident.[152] Civil rights activists and Smith's friends and family disputed the law enforcement accounts of the incident. Local organization Communities United Against Police Brutality held a press conference near the shooting site on June 4 to call for officials to release video footage and other details of the shooting.[153][154] Family and friends of Smith held a peaceful vigil the evening of June 4 at the parking ramp where he was killed, and participated in a protest march on June 6.[155][149] Activist Nekima Levy Armstrong led a protest on June 8 outside the home of Minnesota's U.S. Marshal, Ramona Dohman, calling for her resignation. Armstrong alleged that Dohman, a Trump administration appointee, had a conflict of interest due to a past working relationship with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.[156] Protests were held over subsequent days with demonstrators periodically occupying a street intersection near where Smith was killed.[157][158]

Uptown vehicle-ramming incident, June 13Edit

 
The secured crime scene on June 14, 2021, several hours after Deona Knajdek was killed.

On June 13, 2021, a man drove a car into a crowd of demonstrators who had gathered as a part of the ongoing, aforementioned Winston Boogie Smith protests, killing Deona M. Knajdek and injuring three others. That evening, demonstrators had blocked the intersection of West Lake Street and Girard Avenue.[157][159] At approximately 11:39 p.m. CDT, a man in a Jeep Cherokee drove into the crowd at a high speed, striking a parked vehicle that had been used to block off the intersection to traffic, which then collided with protesters.[159][160][161] On June 16, 2021, the driver was charged with second-degree intentional murder and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon in relation to the crash, after allegedly telling investigators that he had accelerated towards the crowd in an attempt to clear the barricades that were protecting protesters.[162]

"Taking Back Pride" event, June 27Edit

In a protest event referred to as "Taking Back Pride", demonstrators marched in downtown Minneapolis on June 27 as a counter to contemporary Pride parade festivities, and referenced the protest-origin of the LGBTQ movement in the United States that began with the Stonewall riots in 1969. Participants of the June 27 march said that police were not welcome at the event and that they refused cooperating with law enforcement for permits and did not invite corporate partnerships. Demonstrators demanded police accountability for the killings of Daunte Wright and Winston Smith, and called for greater protections of Black transgender people.[163]

Council President Andrea Jenkins vehicle blocking incident, June 27Edit

A group of activists that included Donald Hooker Jr, a leader with Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar (referring to Jamar Clark), confronted Minneapolis Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins near Loring Park in the afternoon of June 27. Jenkins—a transgender, African American woman—had attended an earlier Pride event. For several hours, the group blocked the car she was a passenger in and presented a list of six demands that Jenkins was asked to sign her agreement to. The demands including dropping charges against protesters in recent demonstrations, calling for the immediate resignation of Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, continuing the closure of George Floyd Square, and providing more information about investigations of recent police killings. After Jenkins signed the agreement, activists moved out of the way to allow the vehicle to drive away.[164][165][166] Hooker posted a 23-minute video of part of the encounter to Facebook. In a statement about the incident, Jenkins said she was treated inhumanely and held against her will by the demonstrators.[167]

Philando Castile commemoration, July 6Edit

Five years after the shooting of Philando Castile by a police officer in the Twin Cities' suburb of St. Anthony, family of Castile and crowd of 200 people gathered and marched outside the governor's mansion in Saint Paul. Activists express their desire for the state legislature to enact several police reform measures, such as limiting pretextual traffic stops.[168]

Leneal Frazier demonstration, July 7Edit

On July 7, a group of approximately 40 people who were mourning the death of Leneal Frazier, a 40-year old man from Saint Paul, blocked Lyndale Avenue in the Camden neighborhood of Minneapolis. Frazier, an uninvolved bystander, was killed on July 6 by a Minneapolis police squad car that was pursuing a robbery suspect in a vehicle that was reportedly carjacked earlier. While in pursuit, the squad car struck several vehicles, including Frazier's vehicle, near the intersection of Lyndale Avenue and 41st Avenue North at approximately 12:30 a.m. CDT. Frazier was a relative of Darnella Frazier, the then-teenager who filmed the murder of George Floyd her cellphone on May 25, 2020.[169] Brian Cummings, the Minneapolis police officer who crashed into Laneal Frazier's vehicle on July 6, was charged with second-degree manslaughter and criminal vehicular homicide.[170]

Judge Regina Chu protest, November 6Edit

Demonstrators gathered outside a downtown Minneapolis condominium to demand that the State v. Potter trial be broadcast live for public view. The trial of former Brooklyn Center police office Kimberly Potter was related to the April 11, 2021, killing of Daunte Wright during a traffic stop. During the November 6 protest event, a demonstrator recorded a Facebook livestream of himself gaining entry to the building and protesting outside the door of what he believed was Judge Chu's unit. Chu had no longer resided at the building at the time of the protest.[171][172][173] Cortez Rice, a resident of Minneapolis, was later charged in Hennepin County for harassment involving retaliation against a judicial officer.[174][175]

Prior Lake student protests, November 11, 19 & 22Edit

 
Protest against racism at Prior Lake High School, November 11, 2021

On November 11, hundreds of people participated in a protest in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul suburb of Savage to express anger the contents of a video that captured a Prior Lake High School student directing racial slurs at another Black student. Protesters, who gathered outside the school that closed early anticipation of the event, denounced the incident and what they viewed as persistent Islamophobia and racism within the Prior Lake Savage Area School District.[176][177]

Dozens attended a rally organized by Minnesota Teen Activists on November 19 outside U.S. Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis to support students who spoke out against racism at Prior Lake High School.[178] Raucous activists confronted members of Prior Lake-Savage Area School Board at a meeting on November 22. Board members walked out when an activist interrupted the meeting with a profane outburst.[179]

Kyle Rittenhouse trial verdict protest, November 20Edit

On November 20, hundreds protested the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse at a demonstration in downtown Minneapolis. Rittenhouse was charged with several crimes related to a shooting that killed two people and injured another during the Kenosha unrest on August 20, 2020, in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. Protesters gathered near the Hennepin County Government Center and marched through downtown, at times blocking traffic and temporarily shutting down a street intersection. Protesters believed Rittenhouse should have been found guilty of the charges against him.[180][181]

Trial of Kimberly Potter protests, November 30–December 23Edit

 
Wright's family, news media, and activists await the trial verdict, December 23, 2021

Trial proceedings for Kimberly Potter, the Brooklyn Center police officer shot Daunte Wright in April, began on November 30 in downtown Minneapolis. Demonstrators gathered outside the Hennepin County Government Center building, the court venue for Potter’s trial. Protests marched through the streets and temporarily blocked vehicular traffic. A vehicle drove through the crowd as protesters urged the driver to stop. A protester climbed on the vehicle as the drive slowly drove away, but was able to dismount safety one block later. No injuries were reported.[182]

The number of protesters dwindled over the course of the Potter trial as outside temperatures became colder. A lone demonstrator was protesting outside the courtroom building by December 17, 2021.[183] Crowds grew in size during the jury deliberation that began on December 22, 2021.[184] Potter was convicted of first-degree and second-degree manslaughter charges on December 20, 2021. The security measures at the Hennepin County Government Center were more lax than during the trial of Derek Chauvin the proceeding April, and downtown Minneapolis calmly awaited the verdict with relatively few businesses boarding up.[185] A crowd of about 50 people that had gathered outside the court building celebrated the trial’s outcome.[186]

Cottage Grove student protest, December 20Edit

Some students at Park High School in Cottage Grove, Minnesota, staged a walk-out style protest over "countless racially-motivated incidents” and the alleged use of the n-word slur by a school employee. The event was organized by the Park High School Black Student Union.[187]

Events in 2022Edit

Arrangement is chronological by the beginning date of each notable event series; timelines for some topics overlap.

Dolal Idd protest, January 4Edit

Activists and family members of Dolal Idd rallied in Saint Paul on June 4, 2022, outside the official residence of Governor Walz. They called for further investigation of the incident that led to Idd's death and the release of additional evidence in the case.[188]

See alsoEdit

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