(TMU) – As the Minneapolis Police Department work alongside the Minnesota National Guard and other regional law enforcement to contain and suppress the unrest enveloping the Twin Cities, fears have grown over the potential for abuses of power committed under the color of authority.
And in video shared across social media over the weekend, these fears appeared to come to life as officers shot less-lethal rounds at residents who stood to observe police operations from their own porch after a curfew went into effect.
WCCO reports that local resident Tanya Kerssen posted video to Twitter that showed Minneapolis police sweeping her residential street in the small suburban Whittier neighborhood. The police, walking in a large group and wearing heavy tactical gear, appear to be walking behind a military Humvee that many assumed to belong to the National Guard.
As the officers walk down the small residential street, the officers begin frantically screaming “get inside, now!” at Kerssen, who initially seems relaxed and continues to film.
Share widely: National guard and MPD sweeping our residential street. Shooting paint canisters at us on our own front porch. Yelling “light em up” #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd #JusticeForGeorge #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/bW48imyt55
— Tanya Kerssen (@tkerssen) May 31, 2020
After a number of officers join in the barking of demands, one can be heard saying “light ‘em up!” before a few of the officers raise their long-barrel guns at Kerssen. Finally, one officer fires what appears to be a paint round at Kerssen and the unidentified residents of the home, striking her and forcing the group to quickly run inside.
The killing of Floyd on the night of Monday, May 25, and subsequent viral spread of video footage of his grisly death – which has been viewed tens of millions of times – has highlighted long-held resentments over brutality and racism in cities of various sizes in the United States.
A curfew was declared in Minneapolis on Friday night, and kicked back into effect on Saturday at 8 p.m. following several days of unrest resulting from the horrific killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police.
In a Twitter post, Mayor Jacob Frey wrote:
“By being out tonight & breaking the 8pm curfew, you are helping the people using crowds as cover to prey on Minneapolis & destroy community.”
— Omar Jimenez (@OmarJimenez) May 31, 2020
However, this certainly was not the case in the Whittier suburb where the encounter between the police and Kerssen, a curious resident standing on her own property, took place.
Some 1,700 members of the Minnesota National Guard have been “fully mobilized” to control the protests. The National Guard, however, have claimed they were not involved in the incident.
Veteran photojournalist Tom Aviles of local CBS affiliate WCCO was arrested by Minnesota State Patrol on Saturday despite identifying himself as a member of the press. The arrest came after Aviles was struck by a rubber bullet as state police and the National Guard fired less-lethal rounds into a peaceful rally. Aviles was taken into custody for a few hours before being released.
— Guy Still (@mplstvguy) May 31, 2020
Another veteran local journalist with the station, producer Joan Gilbertson, accompanied Aviles. The two had clearly identified themselves to law enforcement personnel as Gilbertson held up her hands and pleaded “Don’t shoot me, don’t shoot me!” A patrolman responded to her: “You’ve been warned, or the same thing will happen to you. Or you’re next.”
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