Creator of controversial art sled says burning of Minneapolis police precinct was a ‘good thing’

Creator of controversial art sled says burning of Minneapolis police precinct was a ‘good thing’

Creator of controversial art sled says burning of Minneapolis police precinct was a ‘good thing’

An annual art sled rally in Powderhorn Park turned controversial. One of the displays depicted a burning Minneapolis police precinct with a person dressed as a pig inside.

“It’s funny that, you know, we made this thing into a sled. On the other hand, I think there’s a real sense that it is something to be celebrated,” said Andy Koch, the creator of the precinct sled. “It’s a moment when the tables were turned.”

Koch explains that the burning of the precinct was “a little piece of justice against a system that regularly kills unarmed black people.” 

“During the uprising, the police building, where the murderer was from, happened to catch on fire. And I think that was a good thing,” said Koch. 

Koch’s sled garnered outrage from several police activists, including Minneapolis Police Chief Brian O’Hara. 

In an internal email to staff, O’Hara wrote, “It’s appalling that people would celebrate an event – with children present – that has left our most vulnerable residents terrified – too scared to let their own children walk to the store; too afraid to have their own children’s beds positioned near a bedroom window.” 

O’Hara says while this group cheers over a police station burning, “I can’t help but think of the hundreds of violent crime victims in this city, most in lower-income neighborhoods, who have been hit by bullets or have been killed in the chaos that resulted after the burning of the third precinct.” 

The email also looks back on minority business owners who “lost everything in the destruction.” Despite the violence, Koch says the burning of the precinct has a tide against injustice. 

“I’m sure not everybody feels that way, but a lot of people saw it as justified,” said Koch. “It’s a dark chapter in our history that that murder happened here, that an unarmed person was killed in the street by someone kneeling on their neck, but I think we should be proud that also one of the biggest movements against that erupted here.”

Koch told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS he was not living in Minnesota at the time of the uprise. 

In O’Hara’s email, he points out the crowd of “white people” in the video. He says, “I’ve been to several community meetings where I’ve seen people stand up and speak on behalf of marginalized communities, implying those present who remain silent don’t have the intellectual capacity to speak for themselves.” 

“I think it’s a good thing for white people to speak up about the violence and the police brutality against black people,” said Koch. “I’m with them, and I add my voice to theirs.”

 The Powderhorn Park Neighborhood Association says they were not the host nor a fiscal sponsor of the sled rally but acknowledge the rights of community members to express themselves.