Minnesota State Police troopers and other law officers slashed the tires of dozens of cars in Minneapolis during large protests over the death of George Floyd, two police agencies say.
“State Patrol troopers strategically deflated tires to keep vehicles from being used in attacks, and so we could tow the vehicles later for collection of evidence if necessary,” Minnesota Department of Public Safety spokesman Bruce Gordon said in a statement to NPR.
The Star Tribune first reported the agency’s confirmation, following up on widely seen videos that showed uniformed officers jabbing knives into car tires.
Gordon said police disabled the cars and trucks to prevent vehicles from “driving dangerously and at high speeds in and around protesters and law enforcement.”
“While not a typical tactic, vehicles were being used as dangerous weapons and inhibited our ability to clear areas and keep areas safe where violent protests were occurring,” he said.
Gordon also said some vehicles “contained items used to cause harm during violent protests (rocks, concrete, sticks, etc.).”
Videos of the police actions have gone viral online. They were recently compiled by Mother Jones, which noted that the incidents happened in at least two spots: a Kmart parking lot and a highway overpass.
“Both areas briefly turned into police staging grounds near protest hot spots,” the magazine reported.
Gordon told the Star Tribune that “there will be a review about how these decisions were made.”
The incidents occurred on May 30 and 31 — the first weekend in which outrage over Floyd’s death sparked large protests in Minneapolis and other U.S. cities.
Dozens of cars were hobbled in the Kmart lot. That’s where video producer Andrew Kimmel returned to his rental car in the middle of the night to find its tires were slashed.
Sharing a video of the scene on Twitter, Kimmel said police had cut every tire on his car “as well as every tire of every car in this parking…