George Floyd: Police caught on video slashing tyres at Minneapolis protests

Law enforcement agencies acknowledge involvement in deflating tyres after viral video shows police in military gear striking parked cars

Chris Riotta
New York
Tuesday 09 June 2020 18:47 BST
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Law enforcement officers were caught on camera slashing tyres near protests in Minneapolis over the death of George Floyd, with reports revealing the vehicles belonged not just to demonstrators, but medics and journalists as well.

Officers from the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office and Minnesota State Troopers were ordered to deflate tyres as part of an effort to quell the protests, both agencies confirmed this week. The acknowledgement comes after videos surfaced online showing law enforcement dressed in military attire slashing tyres at a parking lot near the demonstrations.

Before the videos — which have since gone viral — surfaced online and were published by Mother Jones, many believed the slashed tyres were done by protestors rather than the police.

Bruce Gordon, spokesperson for the Minneapolis Department of Public Safety, said in a statement that slashing tyres was “not a typical tactic” while adding: “Vehicles were being used as dangerous weapons and inhibited our ability to clear areas and keep areas safe where violent protests were occurring.”

“State Patrol troopers strategically deflated tyre … in order to stop behaviours such as vehicles driving dangerously and at high speeds in and around protesters and law enforcement,” Mr Gordon said in a statement to the Star Tribune, which initially reported on the tyres slashing.

He added: “As in all operations of this size, there will be a review about how these decisions were made.”

The vehicles reportedly impacted during the police-led tyre slashing were owned by international journalists and medics, according to multiple reports.

Journalists covering the protests for Radio-Canada shared an image on Twitter of their vehicle’s deflated tyres, saying witnesses informed them the slashing was done by police officers.

Virtually all of the cars parked outside of a K-Mart in Minneapolis had slashed tyres, according to photos and reports from the scene.

The Minneapolis Police Department and Minnesota National Guard have denied their agencies’ involvement in the incident.

The slashing occurred during protests on 30 May and 31 May, and initially were thought by many to have been the result of violent riots and looting that occurred amid days of peaceful demonstrations across the country.

A tow truck driver told BuzzFeed’s video team the vehicles belonged to everyone from “medics” to “news crews” and “random people that were just here to protest and — tyres slashed”.

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