Public Safety
Written by Tom Steward | July 2, 2020

Under Walz Minnesota State Patrol Effectively Allows Unlawful Protests

It had to be humiliating for the Minnesota State Patrol officers evidently ordered to stand down while a mob lassoed and ripped down the statue of Christopher Columbus on June 10 at the State Capitol. Activists were clearly given the green light, even though Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington had assured KSTP-TV reporter Tom Hauser the state property would be protected at all costs. Harrington’s empty promises and the state patrol’s toothless response left their credibility in the dust with the public property they were charged with protecting.

The photo of state patrol officers lined up behind the statue with batons and helmets minutes after vandals were allowed to topple it bears all the hallmarks of Gov. Tim Walz’s strategy in waiting until the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct station was looted and burned by rioters on May 28 before sending in the Minnesota National Guard in force to secure the ashes.

Despite Walz’s pronouncement the perpetrators at the State Capitol would be held accountable, no arrests have been announced yet, though the participants openly took credit for their conquest. Quite a contrast with law enforcement in Miami, which confronted and charged protesters bent on destroying a Columbus statue in the city a day later, according to an AP report.

There is “zero tolerance for those who hide behind the peaceful protesters to incite riots, damage property, and hurt members of the public or our officers,” police added in a news release announcing the arrests…

The charges against the arrested men include incite to riot, battery against an officer, aggravated assault, criminal mischief, unlawful assembly, disorderly conduct and resisting an officer.

Now Walz’s Minnesota State Patrol and Department of Transportation have effectively given the go-ahead to protesters who decide to shut down Twin Cities freeways to make their point. The hands-off policy toward demonstrators on interstate highways almost led to a tragedy when a tanker truck was mistakenly allowed onto the new I-35 W bridge during the George Floyd protests.

State law enforcement looked the other way yet again on July 1 when protesters brought traffic to a halt on I-94 in St. Paul over the death of an activist in Ethiopia.

Dozens of demonstrators clearly felt empowered to take over the busy stretch of freeway connecting Minneapolis and St. Paul, according to the Pioneer Press.

The westbound lanes of Interstate 94 through St. Paul were closed for about two hours Wednesday evening after a group  representing the local Ethiopian community marched onto the freeway to protest a high-profile killing in their native country.

The interstate reopened shortly after 8 p.m. The Minnesota State Patrol said no arrests were made.

Scores of protesters demanding justice for a slain Ethiopian musician and activist began blocking the interstate in the vicinity of Victoria Street about 6 p.m., according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

Once more, law enforcement reported making no arrests at the scene. Whatever their cause, it’s as if protesters can expect to receive a police escort as they disrupt their fellow citizens’ lives in clear violation of the law in what increasingly looks like the banana republic of Minnesota subject to the whims of Gov. Tim Walz.

Tom Steward

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

Related Content