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False reports of an officer-involved shooting spark looting in Minneapolis

False reports of an officer-involved shooting spark looting in Minneapolis
Posted at 5:13 AM, Aug 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-27 06:03:17-04

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey requested the help of Minnesota's National Guard Wednesday after false rumors of an officer-involved shooting in the city prompted rioting and looting.

On Wednesday evening, Frey imposed a city-wide curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. and asked for members of the National Guard in help patrolling his city's streets. Minnesota Gov. Tim Waltz declared a state of emergency and activated 150 State Patrol troopers, according to the Star-Tribune.

The chain of events that led to looting and rioting began when police spotted a homicide suspect near Nicollet Mall. As police closed in on the suspect, he pulled out a gun and shot himself.

The man who died has not yet been identified.

The Minneapolis Police released surveillance video from the incident within 90 minutes of the shooting. Video does not show officers firing weapons but shows them appearing on the scene seconds after the self-inflicted gunshot wound.

However, the incident sparked rumors online that officers had shot and killed the man. Hours later, a group of protesters gathered at Nicollet Mall to call for justice.

Though some in the crowd attempted to inform the others that police were not involved in the shooting, the protests nonetheless devolved into looting. A Nordstrom Rack and a Target in the area were among the stores hit.

"This is a tragic incident for all involved," said Frey. "What the city needs now is healing, not more property destruction."

Minneapolis saw several nights of violent protests in late May and early June, following the death of George Floyd at the hands of the city's police officers. Wednesday's incident also came as the nation grapples with the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.