Mar 9, 2022 - News

Report: Minneapolis failed in aftermath of George Floyd's killing

Rioters set fire to a multi-story affordable housing complex under construction near the Third Precinct.
Rioters set fire to a multi-story affordable housing complex under construction near the Third Precinct during May 2020 protests sparked by the death of George Floyd. Photo: Mark Vancleave/Star Tribune via Getty Images

A new report confirms what many Minneapolis residents already knew about the days that followed George Floyd's killing: City leaders weren't ready for the scale or intensity of civil unrest.

The big picture: The city-commissioned After Action report, conducted by Baltimore-based consultant Jensen Hughes, found that the officials and the Minneapolis Police Department failed to properly follow emergency protocols as the city erupted in protest.

  • Communication breakdowns and inconsistent guidelines hindered the response, as key leaders didn't even understand how to formally call in the National Guard.

Why it matters: The failures contributed to a tumultuous and violent period that shook the city, leading to days of curfew, clashes and property damage, and further inflamed tensions between residents and MPD.

What they're saying: "Overall, (the community was) frustrated over a lack of preparedness, the lack of leadership and the failure to assist business owners, especially small business owners, after the unrest," Robert Boehmer, one of the consultants, told the City Council yesterday.

Zoom in: Consultants reviewed 30-35 hours of police body camera footage and found "a vast, vast void in consistent rules of engagement and controls," around using so-called "less lethal" munitions, said Chad McGinty, a former law enforcement officer who worked on the report.

  • The resulting use of force against protesters and the press has sparked backlash and lawsuits.

The response: Some City Council members questioned why Mayor Jacob Frey's administration wasn't better prepared, given efforts to learn from the 2015 occupation of the Fourth Precinct following the police shooting of Jamar Clark.

  • "He had the infrastructure, the policy guidelines and hundreds of dedicated, experienced staff ready to fall into a command structure," City Council Member Robin Wonsley Worlobah said.

In a statement, Frey said he's directed staff to improve the city's emergency response plans.

  • "Trainings are underway, new structures are being put in place, and we are in routine contact with multi-jurisdictional partners to enhance communications and operational preparedness," he said.

Go deeper: Read the full report.

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