Several Minnesota Businesses Looted Sunday Also Were Ransacked in Last Year’s Riots

·4 min read

Several stores ransacked after Sunday’s fatal police shooting in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota were vandalized and looted less than a year ago in the riots that ensued across the Twin Cities after George Floyd’s death in police custody.

The Foot Locker, T-Mobile and GameStop stores in the city were among the stores looted last May, said Mark Allen, the president of the Brooklyn Center Business Association. He worries about the lasting impact this second go-round of rioting will have on the business community.

“What would be the rationale or the reason that any of those businesses … would want to open in our community again?” Allen said in an interview with National Review. “It’s frustrating.”

Allen called the shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright during a traffic stop Sunday afternoon, and the ensuing rioting and looting a “sad, sad, sad thing” that’s left him “shell shocked.” Wright, who had a warrant for his arrest, was shot when he attempted to flee a traffic stop. Body camera footage released by law enforcement on Monday appears to show that the officer who shot Wright with her gun incorrectly though she was firing a Taser stun gun instead.

“I can understand mourning for that, and I can understand protesting for it,” Allen said. “But then on the flip side, these same people are running out of Foot Locker saying ‘Yay, I got a free pair of shoes because of this.’ It just doesn’t make sense.”

Minnesota governor Tim Walz on Monday imposed a 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew on three Twin Cities counties – Hennepin, Ramsey and Anoka. He also had a message for potential lawbreakers.

“For those who choose to go out and … exploit these tragedies for personal gain, you can rest assured that the largest police presence in Minnesota history will be prepared,” he said at a press conference. “You will be arrested. You will be charged.”

Among the other Brooklyn Center stores that were ransacked after Sunday’s shooting are Walmart, T.J. Max, Five Below, Little Caesars, two municipal liquor stores, and a UPS store.

“What are you looting at a UPS Store? What are you stealing? Office supplies? Packages for shipping?” Allen said. “On top of the looting, they shot the place up.”

Allen said he found at least a dozen bullet holes in the UPS Store walls on Monday.

“I know about guns. I’m a handgun owner,” he said. “You’re firing off like that, you could have a ricochet, they could have killed one of their looting friends.”

Allen said he talked to the owners of the UPS Store, and they’re afraid to continue working in Brooklyn Center. And they’re already struggling with their insurance company over coverage.

One local business owner, who declined to be named due to safety concerns, told National Review that he’s been struggling with increased crime in the area around the Shingle Creek Crossing mall for several months. He said his car was stolen in November, and since January at least three people have tried to access his office and rob him. He has signs in his windows indicating there is no money inside.

The business owner said he plans to remove everything of value that he can from his office on Monday night in case there is more rioting and looting.

“I can take what I can take, which is the laptops,” he said.

James Leaman, the owner of Hero’s Barbershop in Brooklyn Center, said he was “just lucky” that his shop wasn’t broken into. His barbershop is just a couple of doors down from the GameStop and UPS Store that he described as “gone.” He has tint on his windows, he said, making it hard to see inside.

Leaman said he was heading home on Sunday when he heard about the looting.

“My store’s got a camera system, so I could see it on my phone, people running back and forth in front of my store, hitting the GameStop,” said Leaman.

Leaman, who noted that he has just “a little bit of insurance,” said he believes the protests over the shooting have been infiltrated by “bad people starting stuff.”

Allen said that despite the vandalism and looting after Sunday’s shooting, the “discontents” are a small portion of the population of Brooklyn Center and the Twin Cities generally.

“I still believe,” he said, “and know from my own experience growing up in Minneapolis, on the north side, that the majority, the vast majority of people are pretty damned decent.”

More from National Review

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting