The Potluck

Residents express empathy, grief after second night of riots in Twin Cities

By: and - May 29, 2020 11:06 am

State Patrol and Department of Natural Resources conservation officers stand guard in front of a burned down apartment building on May 29, 2020 in Minneapolis. Law enforcement surrounded the area around the Minneapolis Police Third Precinct headquarters after riots broke out. Photo by Max Nesterak/Minnesota Reformer.

South Minneapolis residents expressed empathy, grief and anger Friday morning as smoke drifted through the air, sirens wailed and the state patrol surrounded the remnants of Third Precinct headquarters following the second night of riots in the Twin Cities.

Alisha Bruce and her siblings came out to survey the wreckage. Standing outside a husk of a building, they disagreed about whether the destruction could have been avoided.

“No. It’s long overdue,” Bruce said. “They keep killing us.”

Lulite, a resident who declined to give her last name, said she thinks some opportunists only interested in making a mess were involved in the chaos but that protesters’ anger is justified. Black Minnesotans have been denied justice for too long, she said.

“This is absolutely insane. I can’t really say. You just have to understand how we feel,” she said as a helicopter flew overhead and smoke from smoldering buildings plumed behind her.

Ben, another resident who declined to give his last name, said he understands the protests but can’t comprehend the destruction to the community. 

“The sad thing to me is that we’re not focusing on the issue that really truly matters,” he said. “The big picture is, and has been for years, about police brutality — plain and simple. They kill white people, they kill Latino people, they kill Black people, and for the most part they get away with it. And that’s a problem.”

Peaceful demonstrations against police for the killing of George Floyd gave way to violent riots Thursday night. Thousands of individuals assembled in chaos, and the Minneapolis Police Third Precinct headquarters and a number of buildings across the Twin Cities burned.

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Max Nesterak
Max Nesterak

Max Nesterak is the deputy editor of the Reformer and reports on labor and housing. Most recently he was an associate producer for Minnesota Public Radio after a stint at NPR. He also co-founded the Behavioral Scientist and was a Fulbright Scholar to Berlin, Germany.

Rilyn Eischens
Rilyn Eischens

Rilyn Eischens is a former data reporter for the Minnesota Reformer. Rilyn was born and raised in Minnesota and has worked in newsrooms in the Twin Cities, Iowa, Texas and most recently Virginia, where she covered education for The Staunton News Leader. She's an alumna of the Dow Jones News Fund data journalism program and the Minnesota Daily. When Rilyn isn't in the newsroom, she likes to read, add to her plant collection and try new recipes.