Video: St. Paul Protesters Smash Police Vehicles Outside Looted Target Store

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@rljourno, @gabegutierrez / Twitter

A group of protesters in St. Paul damaged local police vehicles outside a looted Target store on Thursday as violent demonstrations over the death of George Floyd continue to spread.

Minnesota Reformer reporter Ricardo Lopez shared footage of dozens of protesters demonstrating outside of the University Avenue store. One video shows a state trooper vehicle with its back window shattered.

NBC News correspondent Gabe Gutierrez tweeted a photo of a St. Paul police SUV with its windshield smashed in as officers formed a perimeter around the Target store.

Earlier Thursday, police responded to looting at the Target, where up to 60 people ran into the store and began grabbing items and running away without paying at around 11:30 a.m.

Kare 11 reports:

Officers attempted to stop the looting “and the would-be thieves dropped the stolen merchandise and fled on foot,” said a statement from police spokesman Steve Linders.

A crowd gathered outside the store and chanted “I can’t breathe.”

While officers were responding to the looting, a fight broke out between a person in a vehicle and someone on foot. Police say the person in the car attempted to run over the pedestrian but missed and crashed into another vehicle.

In addition to looting, some protesters threw shopping cars and glass bottles at officers.

Police said no arrests were made.

The St. Paul looting follows dozens of protesters stealing televisions, clothes, and groceries from the Target store near Minneapolis Police’s 3rd Precinct building as demonstrations devolved into riots on Wednesday evening. 

Fox 9 reporter Karen Scullin posted several videos showing the looting at the Lake Street Target after police and protesters engaged in a tense standoff hour earlier.

Justice Department said Thursday it has made investigating the police-involved death of Floyd a “top priority.”

The African-American Floyd died Monday after he was restrained by a Minneapolis police officer who knelt on his neck. Floyd had been arrested on suspicion of using a counterfeit bill at a grocery store.

Video of Floyd’s arrest, in which he is heard telling officers he can’t breathe, spawned immediate shock and civil unrest in Minneapolis that later spread to other cities nationwide Wednesday.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Minnesota, the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and the FBI’s Minneapolis Field Office said Thursday they’re conducting “a robust” criminal investigation.”

“The Department of Justice has made the investigation a top priority and has assigned experienced prosecutors and FBI criminal investigators to the matter,” they said.

In Southern California, hundreds of demonstrators organized by Black Lives Matter-LA marched in downtown Los Angeles and at one point blocked a freeway. Some protesters vandalized a California Highway Patrol car by smashing its rear window.

The AP contributed to this report. 

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