Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo warned those who are "hijacking peaceful protests" that they will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
The warning came after what began as a peaceful protest outside of the Minneapolis Police Department's 5th Precinct in south Minneapolis led to vandalism Saturday night, in addition to officers being targeted by what Arradondo said were "commercial grade fireworks."
“Last night, individuals marched to the Minneapolis Police Department’s 5th Precinct and proceeded to vandalize the exterior of the building and target officers with commercial grade fireworks," Arradondo said in a statement. "This unlawful and senseless behavior will not be tolerated."
Images issued to the press by MPD show graffiti on the building and sidewalk. Officers were inside the precinct at the time, though it was police responding to the area who were targeted by fireworks, MPD spokesperson John Elder told the Star Tribune.
Vandalism at MPD 5th Precinct
"Acts such as these do absolutely nothing to constructively engage and activate true and real needed reforms," Arradondo said. "The vast majority of the men and women of the MPD who continue to come to work each day and night are doing so to keep all our communities safe and make a positive difference. I support them and their efforts working professionally during this pandemic, amidst an increase in violent crime and as we diligently press forward in creating a new MPD in partnership with our communities."
Minneapolis has seen an uptick in violent crime since George Floyd died while in police custody on May 25. Killings have been on the rise since, and the city is quickly nearing 50 homicide cases for the year.
"To all those engaging in peaceful 1st amendment protected speech and assembly thank you. To those individuals that make the choice to engage in unlawful and destructive behavior, hijacking peaceful protests, your actions will not be tolerated, and you will be prosecuted to the full extent lawfully," Arradondo concluded.
There were also five people injured in shootings in Minneapolis Saturday night. All of the shootings remain under investigation and no arrests have been made.
Note: Details provided in this story are based on the police's latest version of events, and may be subject to change.