Minnesota Senate Republicans blame Walz, Frey for destruction in riots in new report

Josh Skluzacek
Updated: October 13, 2020 06:07 PM
Created: October 13, 2020 11:02 AM

Two Minnesota Senate committees on Tuesday released a report blaming Gov. Tim Walz, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and the Minneapolis City Council for worsening the violence and damage during the riots that followed George Floyd's death.

The Senate Transportation Finance and Policy Committee, along with the Judiciary and Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee, said in a joint report that Walz and Frey failed to realize the seriousness of the riots and were slow to respond, blaming them for the destruction caused by the riots.

The Republican-led committees said the Democratic leaders failed to lead, were slow to act because they identified with protesters' causes, underestimated the severity of the events as they unfolded and refused to use force to suppress the riots. It also blamed the city council for "inadequately funding their police department while also proposing to eliminate and/or defund them."

"The spread of violence, including the fall of the Third Precinct, could have been avoided or at least severely curtailed had Mayor Frey given law enforcement the authority to use the numerous non-lethal tools and resources at their disposal, or had Governor Walz deployed the Minnesota National Guard earlier," the report concludes.

Lawmakers also urged arresting and prosecuting all who commit criminal acts in a social protest, having the Minnesota Department of Public Safety develop a comprehensive plan with local leaders across the state to address future instances of rioting and having a frank conversation about social injustice in the state.

Governor Walz responded to the report during a call with the Minnesota Department of Health regarding the the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The mayor and I certainly think our administration, whether it be the National Guard, the State Patrol, the DNR, our frontline folks responded in a noble and heroic manner," the governor said. "They saved life. I'm more than open if there's lessons learned we certainly want them."

However, he questioned the timing of a partisan report.

"A one-sided report coming out right before an election isn't as helpful, but if there's helpful advice in there I'll certainly take it," he said.

Mayor Frey reacted at a public event in Minneapolis where city leaders announced a plan to curb violence in the future.

"I'm not interested in engaging in sort of these partisan-based attacks especially who's arm-chair quarterbacking," Frey said. "We will have an independent review that will be moving forward through our Office of Emergency Management and we'll work through that."

DFL senators said Republican lawmakers gave the report to DFL committee members one hour before releasing the report.

Sen. Ron Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park, and Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, the DFL leads on the judiciary and transportation committees, respectively, released the following statement Tuesday:

"As the DFL leads for these committees, we should have been given longer than an hour to review this 50-page report before it was published to the public. Once again, the Senate majority’s lack of transparency and gross miscalculation of the moment is astounding.

"It’s disappointing that once again, the other side isn’t willing to hold fair hearings by listening to all parties involved in an issue. They completely failed to acknowledge what caused the unrest in the first place, the murder of George Floyd at the hands of police officers. They fail to face the issues of structural racism, racial injustice, and lack of police accountability reforms in the Senate."

You can see the full report here.


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