The editors of City Journal asked me for an account of what happened in Minneapolis. They have just posted it as “Minnesota madness.” Please check it out. This is where I started, although the column as edited covers a little more ground in a little less space.
George Floyd died in the custody of four Minneapolis police officers on May 25. The rest of the week we had a terroristic crime spree that covered the Twin Cities. According to the valuable Star Tribune compilation, that damage extended to 1500 businesses and buildings in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
The crime wave was inspired to a great extent by the abandonment of the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct headquarters and its burning on the evening of May 28. This was an unparalleled act of political irresponsibility attributable to Minneapolis boy mayor Jacob Frey.
In his initial comments the morning after the Third Precinct was destroyed, Governor Walz threw Frey under the proverbial bus for the decision to abandon it. Warned in advance of the decision by Frey, Walz professed himself “not comfortable” with it. These were perhaps the most truthful only words uttered by Walz in this entire series of events. Walz quickly reverted to the style of the stereotypical used car salesman that is his characteristic mode.
The decision to abandon the Third Precinct on the evening of May 28 was an open secret. The Wall Street Journal now looks back in “‘We’re Just Going to Walk Away From This?’ How Minneapolis Left a Police Station to Rioters.” MPR looks back in “‘The precinct is on fire’: What happened at Minneapolis’ 3rd Precinct — and what it means.”
Unfortunately, MPR has no idea what it means. Led by the Star Tribune, we have a massive failure of the Minnesota media to settle accounts and assess responsibility. Their view is utterly blinkered, not by the fog of war, but rather by the fog of leftist sympathy. Sheer cowardice must be a substantial contributing factor as well.
The perpetrators of the terroristic crime wave were many and varied. Only a few have been charged so far. The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Minnesota has brought arson cases against a dozen or so defendants to date. See the US Attorney press releases compiled here. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives seems to be taking the lead in the investigation of the 150 arsons throughout the Twin Cities in the week following Floyd’s death.
Reading the criminal complaints filed in these cases, I was reminded of the theme song of the Summer of Love: “If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.” For these cases, it would go: “If you’re going to Minneapolis, be sure to bring some Molotov cocktails in your backpack.”
The defendants charged in the crime spree so far are mostly homegrown Minnesotans. They came from all over the state to get in on the action. At least one of them was an offender out on supervised release for bank fraud. He made it a family affair. Some of them advertised their crimes on social media.
What’s it all about? When you make yourself a target, there are many bad dudes lying in wait to take advantage of the opportunity. That’s one point.
Earlier this week, for example, the United States Attorney announced the filing of charges against Matthew White for arson. Joined by his sister and nephew, White seems to have paid a visit to the Enterprise Rent-A-Car building on University Avenue in St. Paul. The family turned up well equipped for action.
Why St. Paul? Why Enterprise-Rent-A-Car? Why not?
I have uploaded the criminal complaint against White to Scribd. I submit it to the attention of interested readers.
Matthew White ComplaintAffidavit by Scott Johnson on Scribd