Public Safety
Written by Tom Steward | November 2, 2020

Metro Businesses Brace for Riots and Violence on Election Day

Politicians say we’re in a “new normal” with the continuing restrictions set in place by Gov. Tim Walz due to the pandemic. But there’s an even more concerning new normal that now also characterizes our civic life for the first time–the threat of violence, looting and rioting on and around Election Day by anarchists, vandals and thugs believed to be standing by to strike in the event President Trump prevails again.

Metro area businesses have begun barricading their stores against the real possibility of a repeat of the arson and vandalism that destroyed hundreds of businesses earlier this summer, according to the Pioneer Press.

Nelson Fox, who works with Grand Avenue businesses as the owner of a web design and digital marketing agency, noted in an email to owners and managers on Monday morning that precautions are being taken in major cities across the country.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow (Election Day), I don’t think any of us do, but given the events over the summer, better safe than sorry,” Nelson said Monday. There were instances of people setting businesses ablaze and looting them in St. Paul and Minneapolis after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.

Law enforcement officers are also on alert, well aware of the dozens of demonstrations said to be in the works if activists don’t approve of the outcome.

Steve Linders, a St. Paul police spokesman, has said they are increasing patrol officer staffing throughout the city for the week “out of an abundance of caution.” He said Monday they would not be talking about details or tactics.

Officials have been urging calm and patience, and they say they’ve been preparing for Election Day on Tuesday — and the days that will follow — for months.

But after the destruction that gutted whole sections of Minneapolis and St. Paul just months ago, both businesses and residents know they can’t count on the authorities alone to protect them.

James Farnsworth, Highland Business Association executive director, said Monday that he’s been collecting information to give guidance to businesses in his area.

“The Highland Business Association is ready to respond quickly and coordinate volunteers from the community if needed,” he wrote in a Sunday night email to businesses. “I certainly hope we won’t come anywhere close to having to do this.”


Tom Steward

Tom Steward is a Government Accountability Reporter at Center of the American Experiment.
[email protected]

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