The breach occurred at about 10 p.m., with rioters setting fires inside the building and outside near the main entrance.
Police released a statement just after 10 p.m., saying in part, “in the interest of the safety of our personnel, the Minneapolis Police Department evacuated the 3rd Precinct of its staff. Protesters forcibly entered the building and have ignited several fires.”
WCCO’s Jennifer Mayerle reports that the department had discussed withdrawing officers from the building as early as noon Thursday. Officers were also seen removing the American flag from the precinct’s pole at about 11:30 a.m.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey spoke to the media early Friday morning, where he took responsibility for ordering police to leave the precinct after hours of discussion with Chief Medaria Arradondo.
Frey also addressed the harsh remarks President Donald Trump made on Twitter late Thursday night.Donald J. Trump✔@realDonaldTrump ·
I can’t stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis. A total lack of leadership. Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right…..Donald J. Trump✔@realDonaldTrump
….These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!84.8KTwitter Ads info and privacy72.8K people are talking about this
“Weakness is pointing the finger at someone else during a time of crisis. Donald J. Trump knows nothing about the strength of Minneapolis. We are strong as hell, and you better be damn sure we’re going to get through this!” Frey said.
About two-and-a-half hours after the president’s tweets, Twitter flagged the latter of the two, in which he wrote, of protests and riots in the Twin Cities, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
“This Tweet violates our policies regarding the glorification of violence based on the historical context of the last line, its connection to violence, and the risk it could inspire similar actions today,” Twitter officials said.
About 90 minutes after the 3rd Precinct was overrun by rioters, city officials warned that the precinct building’s gas line may have been severed, and the building may be in danger of exploding.City of Minneapolis✔@CityMinneapolis
We’re hearing unconfirmed reports that gas lines to the Third Precinct have been cut and other explosive materials are in the building.
If you are near the building, for your safety, PLEASE RETREAT in the event the building explodes.15.1KTwitter Ads info and privacy13.5K people are talking about this
The Minnesota National Guard said 500 soldiers arrived in Minneapolis, St. Paul and surrounding suburbs late Thursday night to “protect life, preserve property and the right to peacefully demonstrate.”MN National Guard✔@MNNationalGuard
We are here with the Minneapolis Fire Department ready to assist so they can safely do their mission.
After daybreak Friday, the soldiers, accompanied by the Minnesota State Patrol, began clearing people out of the area around the 3rd Precinct. Around 6 a.m., troopers arrested a black CNN correspondent, Omar Jimenez, and his crew as they reported on the unrest in city live on air. A white correspondent nearby was not arrested, the network said.
CNN reported that Jimenez was released before 7 a.m. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz personally apologized to the network’s president, accepting full responsibility.CNN✔@CNN
In north Minneapolis overnight, a woman’s body was found in a car, prompting a death investigation. Police say there were signs of trauma on the body, which was found at the intersection of Bryant and 17th avenues. This could be the second fatal incident connected with the nights of unrest in the city.
St. Paul was spared from the chaos Wednesday night, but that all changed Thursday. The St. Paul Police Department said more than 170 businesses were looted or damaged Thursday, and dozens of fires were set. But there were no serious injuries reported in the city. Fires continued to burn in the city early Friday morning, with the largest one at Big Top Liquor near Snelling and University avenues, nearby Allianz Field.
Looters entered Northtown Mall in Blaine late Thursday night, but police said they soon took control of the shopping center.Erin Hassanzadeh WCCO✔@erinreportsTV ·
Police confirm to us there was looting at the Northtown Mall this evening. Nothing happening currently, all parking lot entrances blocked off.Erin Hassanzadeh WCCO✔@erinreportsTV
You can see looters got into Burlington at Northtown Mall. No looters around, police guarding entrances
State Patrol standing off with protestors chanting “GEORGE FLOYD” at Nicollet and 4th
Seeing some attempts to break windows on skyscrapers. Many broken already
Thousands gathered in downtown Minneapolis early Thursday evening at the Hennepin County Government Center to demand justice for Floyd, before marching down Marquette Avenue.Marielle Mohs✔@MarielleMohs
Peaceful protesters made their way down Nicollet Mall, where several businesses boarded up their first floor windows, including Target, JB Hudson Jewelers and Haskell’s Wine and Spirits. Jack Farrell, Haskell’s president, said he respects the protest, but if his business gets looted or damaged, he’s not sure if it will be able to recover — especially in light of revenue loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This could be the death knell for downtown Minneapolis,” Farrell said.
By about 9 p.m., tensions began to flare up between protesters and law enforcement near the light rail station off 5th Street and Hennepin Avenue.Marielle Mohs✔@MarielleMohs
Some of those protesters took to Interstate 35W just before 10 p.m., leading to the closure the Washington Avenue exit.Nick Streiff@nickstreiff
Protesters have made their way onto 35W near 3rd St. @WCCO
In south Minneapolis, police say there was a shooting at about 8:30 p.m. at the Walgreens pharmacy on the 3100 block of Lake Street, just a few blocks down from the 3rd Precinct protest site.
Within the hour of the shooting, MaX It PAWN shop near the 3rd Precinct erupted in flames.
Earlier, the Target store near the 3rd Precinct, which was looted Wednesday night, became another chaotic focal point, with dozens of people gathered in the parking lot. A car was set on fire just after 7 p.m.David Schuman@david_schuman
In the Target parking lot next to the 3rd precinct. People throwing glass bottles, one guy even jumping up and down on the hood
Looting spread to St. Paul beginning early Thursday afternoon, with businesses being targeted along University Avenue in the Midway neighborhood. Police clashed with looters and protesters for hours.Susan-Elizabeth✔@susanelizabethL
The looting expanded throughout the city Thursday evening, with Grand Avenue businesses in peril.Erin Hassanzadeh WCCO✔@erinreportsTV
First Grand Avenue Liquors was smashed and looted roughly an hour ago. Near Grand and Victoria. They’re boarding up for tonight. This rock broke one of the windows. #wcco
By 8 p.m., there were reports of several fires in the Capitol city.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz signed an executive order Thursday afternoon to activate the National Guard to “to help protect Minnesotans’ safety and maintain peace in the wake of George Floyd’s death.” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey also declared a local emergency late Thursday.
Several businesses in the Twin Cities closed down and boarded up in anticipation of continued riots and looting, including Mall of America and Rosedale Center. Metro Transit announced the suspension of all buses and light rail operation through the weekend.