UTKE: Senate report concludes poor decision-making during Minneapolis civil unrest

District 2 State Sen. Paul Utke
Joel Maxwell

Poor decision-making by Gov. Tim Walz, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, and the Minneapolis City Council exacerbated violence, property damage, and civil unrest during the Minneapolis riots that took place at the end of May and early June, according to a new report released jointly by the Minnesota Senate’s Transportation and Public Safety Committees.

According to the report, Gov. Walz, his administration and Mayor Frey failed to realize the seriousness of the riots and danger to Minnesotans if the rioters were not confronted and stopped, and even once they arrived at that realization, they failed to act in a timely enough manner.

The report found that the destruction of the Third Precinct would not have occurred, and rioting would not have escalated as quickly as it did, had Gov. Walz and Mayor Frey acted faster and more decisively.

The report also makes a number of recommendations that policymakers can implement to improve the state’s reaction and prevent future peaceful protests from devolving into violence and lawlessness. These recommendations cover a number of areas, including law enforcement training and equipment; the responsibilities of the governor and city mayors; expectations for the Department of Public Safety; and social injustice.

I truly hope the Walz administration and future administrations will take the suggestions in this report to heart. Poor decision making as the protests ramped up caused huge damage to people’s livelihoods, access to necessary medication, access to food and more. The worst of the damage was in areas where people already have difficulty obtaining those items. All in all, the civil unrest cost Minnesotans nearly $7 million dollars for additional Public Safety costs incurred by our State Patrol and DNR. The entire state is at risk when Minneapolis is left to flounder. I’m glad the committee took the time to investigate the response and suggest solutions for the future.


“One central theme emerged fairly quickly during our hours of testimony: the governor’s slow decision making caused the riots to be far, far worse than they should have been,” said Sen. Scott Newman (R-Hutchinson), chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. “It is my sincere hope that future governors and legislators will use the recommendations in this report to fix the mistakes that were made last May. Peaceful protestors deserve to have their voices heard without the public fearing for the safety and security of their communities.”

“The number one role of government is to keep its citizens safe,” said Sen. Warren Limmer (R-Maple Grove), chairman of the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee. “A careful examination of the events that took place following the tragic death of George Floyd shows that the state’s crisis response needs significant improvement. The aim is not to relitigate the past, but rather help us prevent riots like this from happening in the future.”

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