Videos Show Cops Slashing Car Tires at Protests in Minneapolis

Update, 6/8/20: The Star Tribune has identified the officers puncturing tires as state troopers and deputies from the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office. The officers strategically deflated the tires to “stop behaviors such as vehicles driving dangerously and at high speeds in and around protesters and law enforcement,” said Minnesota Department of Public Safety spokesperson Bruce Gordon. The troopers reportedly targeted cars that “contained items used to cause harm during violent protests” such as rocks and concrete. The Anoka County Sheriff’s Lt. Andy Knotz said deputies were following directions from the state-led Multiagency Command Center.

After long nights of tear gas and rubber bullets, some protesters, news crews, and medics in Minneapolis last weekend found themselves stranded: The tires of their cars had been slashed. 

In a city upended by protests about police brutality after the death of George Floyd, many assumed protesters were to blame. But videos reveal a different culprit: the police. 

In the videos, officers puncture tires in a K-Mart parking lot on May 30 and a highway overpass on May 31. Both areas briefly turned into police staging grounds near protest hot spots.

The officers appear to be state troopers or county police, though it’s not clear from the videos. Neither the Minnesota State Patrol nor the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office responded to requests from Mother Jones. The Minneapolis Police Department and Minnesota National Guard denied involvement. 

The gray car in the video above was the rental car of Luke Mogelson, a New Yorker writer who typically covers war zones and is now stationed in Minneapolis to write about the protests. As the protest on Sunday evening turned hairy, with law enforcement tear-gassing peaceful groups soon after curfew, Mogelson went to check on his car, showing his press pass to officers along the way. (Media were exempt from the curfew.) One officer took a picture of his press pass and said he would “radio it up the chain so everyone knew that car belonged to the press,” said Mogelson. When he came back later that evening to retrieve his car, officers informed him that the tires were punctured. “They were laughing,” Mogelson recalled. “They had grins on their faces.”

Mogelson was among many journalists who came back to flat tires after the protests. 

“We’re so busy, it’s just unbelievable,” said a tow truck driver in an interview from the K-Mart parking lot with Andrew Kimmel, formerly the head of BuzzFeed’s video team. The towing company had received “call after call after call.” Asked whose cars were being towed, the tow truck driver said, “Everybody. Medics over there. News crews. Random people that were just here to protest and—tires slashed.”

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate