Maybe the city deserves to burn

There’s been more rioting in Minneapolis, although I’m strongly suspecting that agents provocateur have been at work. Take, for instance, this fellow who was recorded leaving after some AutoZone windows were smashed.

White guy, all in black, with a fancy gas mask, smashing windows with a hammer and then immediately leaving? Sure, that’s normal. I do wonder if he’s a cop trying to stir up trouble to make the murderers on the force look less guilty.

I deplore the destruction of property in South Minneapolis, but even more I deplore the deeply-seated racism and violence in the Minneapolis police. If it takes riots to break the back of the criminal enterprise that we call “law enforcement”, let it be so. Let it burn until the moneyed interests that hold all the power realize that letting a goon squad control the city is not profitable, since that seems to be all they care about. Rise up, good merchants, and let City Hall know that these assholes have to be removed, the police have to be demilitarized, and there has to be a major change in how crime is controlled.

Stripping the police of power and privilege is a good start. My university is making a few changes in how they interact with the police. President Joan Gabel:

Today I am announcing two immediate changes regarding our relationship with MPD.

First, I have directed Senior Vice President Brian Burnett to no longer contract with the Minneapolis Police Department for additional law enforcement support needed for large events, such as football games, concerts, and ceremonies.

Second, I have directed University Police Chief Matt Clark to no longer use the Minneapolis Police Department when specialized services are needed for University events, such as K-9 Explosive detection units.

We have a responsibility to uphold our values and a duty to honor them. We will limit our collaboration with the MPD to joint patrols and investigations that directly enhance the safety of our community or that allow us to investigate and apprehend those who put our students, faculty, and staff at risk.

It’s about time that someone realized that the MPD as structured is a detriment to the peace and safety of our communities.

Also relevant:

I was in that store once before! It was strangely laid out, and it was awkward navigating in there, unlike the suburban Targets I’m more familiar with. That explains a lot.

Also important: the Minnesota Freedom Fund accepts donations to help bail out citizens held by the Minnesota Persecution Department.


  1. garnetstar says

    @1, yeah, I can believe that. Also, that some on the Minneapolis police would try to make it appear that their violence is justified: not only are people protesting their right exert to absolute power and control, but the sudden firing of four of their own, for offenses that surely many of them have committed, must really have threatened them. They’re not easily going to surrender their right to have their violence and racism go completely unquestioned.

  2. says

    It’s going to be a really long crappy summer. People are bottled up and angry. I don’t think this is the last riot we’ll see.

  3. stwriley says

    Several possibilities for who this guy is:
    1) A cop, as PZ and plenty of others have speculated, trying to make the protestors look worse. Most of what gets broken before that is on the police station itself, which is understandable in a protest against the police. It’s also pretty minor (already boarded-over windows being hit with water bottles, from what you can see on the videos.) But the protestors aren’t doing anything to private businesses, because that’s not the focus of their ire. So entirely possible that this guy is a cop working to discredit the protestors in the public eye.
    2) As some others have proposed, this guy might be a white supremacist from one of their many organizations trying to do essentially the same thing as above (discredit the protestors) or trying to stir up trouble for their own ends. Plenty of the “Boogaloo Boys” would love any excuse to start shooting black and brown people and are not above manufacturing that excuse themselves.
    3) The guy could be a Black Bloc anarchist. They love to latch on to any protest in order to try and sow disorder and disruption, on the theory that this will more quickly destroy society and produce the anarchist “utopia” they desire. Just as deluded as the white supremacists, of course, though somewhat less dangerous since they’re unlikely to go shooting their neighbors.
    Any of these is possible, thought the likeliest are 1) and 2), with pretty much even odds as to which is correct. Maybe if someone got a good shot of his face through the gas mask or found some other way of identifying him we might resolve it, but by all I’ve seen he took great pains not to be identifiable. Regardless, the one thing he almost certainly wasn’t was a legitimate protestor there to express his displeasure with the MPD over George Floyd’s murder.

  4. daverytier says

    I’m strongly suspecting that agents provocateur have been at work.

    Makes me wonder, given almost everyone got a phone with camera, if there is not a technological solution to this.

  5. Big Boppa says

    IDK about Minneapolis, but I know enough Chicago cops (through work) to know that the titles police officer and white supremacist are often easily interchangeable.

  6. laurian says

    White guy, all in black, with a fancy gas mask, smashing windows…

    Sounds like a sophmore Trustafarian to me.

  7. Todd Smith says

    The same AutoZone?

    The Boogaloo movement has moved increasingly offline and into the real world in recent months, with members showing up at right-wing “re-open” protests, heavily armed and wearing Hawaiian shirts (a really tedious riff on a misspelling of “boogaloo” as “big luau”).

    Some movement members appeared at a Wednesday night protest in Minneapolis, in hopes of participating in a chaotic scene. Members of at least one “Boogaloo” Facebook group shared pictures of men holding a Boogaloo flag (patterned after a “Blue Lives Matter” flag, but with the movement’s trademark tropical pattern) outside an AutoZone that was later set on fire.

  8. says

    I live in Minneapolis and yes someone/something is definitely infiltrating this awful tragedy. But to say Minneapolis deserves this is appalling to me. I have lived here since 1963 as a 7 year old then. This is not fair to the good folks that just do life. The officer will go to jail imo for sure. All 4 I am not sure about. But why we can’t wait to see is beyond me. I was quite aware during the race riots of the 60’s … This is way worse than what happened over in North Minneapolis than as far as structural damage goes. I maybe wrong about that but the businesses then were mostly Jewish and they booked to the burbs. Who pays for all this BS. And the small businesses which are many who are now screwed in Minneapolis? This is BS. We have many small immigrant businesses that were just wiped out in a couple of days. I am very pissed off.

  9. says

    @#13, gijoel:

    IIRC, the cops also claimed that they needed to kill George Floyd because he was resisting, despite the video. At this point, any sensible person should actively ignore anything they say in their defense.

  10. davegilbert says

    Maybe the whole of the USA deserves to burn given its 400 year history of systemic racism, brutality and injustice.

  11. wahl says

    @11, margecullen Thanks, I live two blocks from Lake St and about a mile from the 3rd Precinct. This is a heavily Latino and Somali community. Most of the businesses that have been damaged are minority-owned. They may not all come back from the damage done. Not to mention, we’ve now lost the four closest grocery stores (all four, Taget, Cub, two Aldi’s, were close to the PD), which is going to cause major issues in the coming days.
    The community is rallying, but most of us are understandably scared, sad and angry. Many people were out yesterday cleaning up and helping to board up shop fronts. I imagine today will be much the same.
    To say that our community deserves to burn feels hard. I am glad that the PD burned last night, I just wish the collateral damage weren’t so bad.

  12. antigone10 says

    Went to the protest yesterday, but left when I started seeing a bunch of white guys with guns (not just the cops). There are definitely some sketchy people down there that are just starting shit.

    Today went to drop off food at the food bank. People are cleaning up, the sidewalks all swept. Mountains of donations.

  13. GerrardOfTitanServer says

    To margecullen

    The officer will go to jail imo for sure.

    That is far from certain.

    All 4 I am not sure about.

    They should all go to jail as accomplices to murder. At least manslaughter. They should all be arrested and charged. They should have been arrested and charged within hours.

    To LykeX

    Do cops have to follow the law?

    SCOTUS answered “no” when it invented “qualified immunity” doctrine out of their collective asses.

    To everyone

    Based on what I’ve seen, the only appropriate response is to literally fire every cop that works there, rely on the state police for a short while, and hire entirely new cops. Nothing short of that should be acceptable.