“There were instances when 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,” Bruce Gordon, a spokesman for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, said in a statement sent to news outlets.
Officials slashed tires to stop cars and trucks from “driving dangerously at high speeds in and around protesters and law enforcement,” Gordon said. Some of the vehicles contained items such as rocks, concrete, and sticks, which have been used during demonstrations to assault law enforcement officers.
“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,” Gordon said.
Deputies from Anoka County also deflated tires on vehicles during the protests, Anoka County Sheriff’s Lt. Andy Knotz said in a statement sent to The Epoch Times.
Personnel from the sheriff’s office and Minnesota State Patrol acted under the authority of the Multi-Agency Command Center and targeted “illegally abandoned vehicles” that were “inside the law enforcement perimeter and obstructing law enforcement operations,” the sheriff said.
“Life safety issues were a concern due to the previous two days of civil unrest” in Minneapolis, Knotz added, “as rioters had used unoccupied vehicles as weapons.”
Gordon said late last month that the command center helped organize thousands of officers from various state, local, and federal agencies to respond to protests and riots.
The sheriff’s office wasn’t involved in deflating tires at a Kmart parking lot, Knotz said.
Several people at the protests saw officers slashing tires in the Kmart parking lot at Lake Street and Nicollet Avenue on May 30. One of the vehicles belonged to Chris Serres, a reporter with the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
“As far as I could see, it looked like all their tires had been slashed,” Serres told his paper.
Some video clips showed officers puncturing tires of cars on roadways in and around Minneapolis. Others posted about finding their vehicles with tires deflated, including multiple reporters, but weren’t sure who did it.
A tow truck driver removing some of the vehicles with slashed tires told Andrew Kimmel, a video producer, that he was towing “everybody’s” cars, including “random people, medics over there, news crews, random people that were here to protest.”