Police confirmed the looting or destruction of over 170 businesses in St. Paul, Minnesota, during riots this weekend allegedly over a police officer killing resident George Floyd.
The department tweeted Thursday night that their officers were continuing to work with federal, state, and local agencies, as well as the local fire department to control the violence that erupted during the day.
“Thankfully, no reports of serious injuries,” officers wrote. “Calm on the horizon.”
As Thursday turns to Friday, our officers continue to work shoulder-to-shoulder with local, state, federal and fire partners to protect St. Paul.
More than 170 businesses damaged or looted. Dozens of fires. Thankfully, no reports of serious injuries. Calm on the horizon.
— Saint Paul Police Department (@sppdmn) May 29, 2020
During the day on Thursday, the areas around University Avenue were destroyed by looters, vandals, and rioters who allegedly threw rocks, bricks, and bottles at officers and their squad cars.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter urged residents to stay home as tensions erupted downtown.
Please stay home. Please do not come here to protest. Please keep the focus on George Floyd, on advancing our movement, and on preventing this from ever happening again. We can all be in that fight together.
— Melvin Carter (@melvincarter3) May 28, 2020
“Please stay home. Please do not come here to protest. Please keep the focus on George Floyd, on advancing our movement, and on preventing this from ever happening again. We can all be in that fight together,” the mayor tweeted.
The looting began when 50-60 people attempted to overrun a Target store in the Midway neighborhood of St. Paul before groups began moving east on University Avenue, KMSP reported.
St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell said police officers responded to the situation at the Target around 11:30 a.m. The alleged looters dropped the goods they had in their hands and then fled the scene.
Huge crowd outside Target in St Paul – line of law enforcement stands guard in front of entrances pic.twitter.com/fmC9wDvFNi
— Sarah Danik (@Sarah_Danik) May 28, 2020
Not too long after that encounter, another group of people tried to loot a Foot Locker store on University Avenue across the street. Police intervened once more, causing a standoff between the police and the protesters.
More accounts of looting and protesting were reported on University Avenue. Fires were reported at a TJ Maxx location and at a Napa Auto Parts store.
State senators and staffers were told to leave the State Capitol complex for fears the looters and the rioters would be headed that way.
St. Paul Public Schools also canceled their meal delivery and pick-up services, as well as essential child care services to protect workers and their families, according to a spokesperson for the district.