The video of a Black homicide suspect’s death reignited riots in Minneapolis on Wednesday. His identity has not been disclosed.
Rumor spread quickly that a police officer who drew his weapon moments prior to the incident was really the one who shot the man, according to KTSP.
The Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) tweeted a street camera video to stop the rumor. In it, the suspect heads into a street corner with a gun. Bystanders flee as he proceeds to face a wall and fire the gun into his own mouth.
The MPD has since removed their original post of the video.
The suspect died while evading arrest for a deadly shooting in a parking garage earlier that day. Two other suspects – a man and a woman – weren’t at the scene. Officers later apprehended the female suspect.
Even after police released the footage of the probable suicide, belief that police shot and killed the suspect reignited riots throughout downtown Minneapolis. Rioters set fires, looted stores and malls, setting a landscape similar to the first Floyd riots downtown. One hundred thirty-two people and counting have been arrested.
Governor Tim Walz addressed the situation late Wednesday night.
“Minneapolis, it’s time to heal. We must rebuild and recover. Dangerous, unlawful behavior will not be tolerated,” the governor tweeted. “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.”
Certain city leaders said though police did not shoot this man, they were still to blame for the public’s reaction. City council member Jeremiah Ellison (Ward 5) said that the previous night’s riots are “proof” that the city does not have a trustworthy public safety system.
“MPD did not kill him, but people assuming they did is rooted in a steep distrust. That distrust is our failure to own. Seeing windows broken and items stolen can be beyond frustrating, especially when all that rage was sparked (this time) by misinformation,” tweeted Ellison. “But so often our policing institutions have themselves been the source of misinformation. We forfeited our goodwill and this is the ugly cost.”
Mayor Jacob Frey issued a four-hour press conference Thursday morning. In addition to status reports of the city’s damages, all speakers agreed that the rioters’ behavior was not only unacceptable, but unjustified.
“We are no longer going to tolerate lawlessness,” said Chief of Police Medaria Arradondo. “We can no longer have productive, real, genuine and authentic conversations about race relations, about peace and policing. We can’t have that when we have individuals who try to hijack the narrative.”
Frey has declared a 72-hour state of emergency, after which the Minneapolis City Council will determine whether to extend or terminate the order.
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