In a chaotic cacophony of noise and a blazing disregard for that law, roving cars spewed fireworks late Monday and early Tuesday in Minneapolis.
Police said one person was arrested and a police officer was injured after incidents in which lawbreakers in cars fired fireworks at residential buildings, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
“It seemed like 2nd Street looking toward Portland was ground zero,” said Star Tribune news editor Paul Klauda, who lives in downtown Minneapolis, where one spate of fireworks activity took place.
Minneapolis police were unable to clear out the streets for hours as crowds shot off fireworks at luxury housing around the downtown core, and in one case broke the glass entrance. pic.twitter.com/80u8OLjSNG
— The Minnesota Wild (@lets_go_wild) July 5, 2022
Beginning at about 10:30 p.m. on Monday, downtown Minneapolis had “kids running around, driving around, shooting fireworks toward cars, buildings, people,” Klauda said, adding that there were “cars racing down 2nd Street in either direction, turning around, kids hanging out of them, firing fireworks.”
“The booms echoed off the buildings, giving it a surreal vibe. At times, kids would … get in and out of cars, sometimes appearing to be re-arming themselves with fireworks. One of the first times cops showed up — without much presence, so it did little to alter the night — someone sent a firework at the squad car.”
In another section of the city, condo resident Karyn Entzion said she witnessed a crowd of 150 people below her second-floor balcony and said some in the crowd launched fireworks at her.
“They were shooting them intentionally onto the roof of my building,” she said. “I had to run. And these weren’t small fireworks. They were huge rocket-like launcher fireworks.”
— CrimeWatchMpls (@CrimeWatchMpls) July 5, 2022
According to the Star Tribune, police said officers responded to the downtown site “to clear the area of parties who had been on-site for hours shooting fireworks at pedestrians, apartments, vehicles and businesses.”
“There had also been reports of gunfire and violent crimes being committed,” the police report said.
The person arrested was detained upon suspicion of assaulting an officer and obstructing police. The Star Tribune generally does not identify suspects before they are charged.
Minneapolis Downtown Council President Steve Cramer called the night’s events “unacceptable.”
“Restoring order is the first responsibility, and the resources just weren’t there last night. It reflects our challenge in a city with a depleted police department,” he said.
But that issue has been a battleground for the city, which tried to appease protesters in 2020 by slashing police funding but then faced retirements and departures that so depleted the ranks that the city had to contract with neighboring communities for protection.
A lawsuit is pending that is seeking to force the city to maintain a specific ratio of officers to its population, but the suit lost its last round in court.
Attorney James Dickey of the Upper Midwest Law Center said Minneapolis police are about 120 officers below what the department should have, according to Minneapolis Public Radio.
”In the meantime, our clients have been facing, as they rightly put it, a hail of bullets ripping through their neighborhood and killing the most vulnerable, as the city refuses to change its approach to policing and restore the Minneapolis Police Department,” Dickey said.
The city of Minneapolis is arguing that the mayor has the discretion to set the size of the department.
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