Is it legal for the police to slash tires during protests
Did Anoka County deputies and State Patrol troopers really slash tires on parked vehicles during the Black Lives Matter protests?
Yes, they really did! There are at least two incidences of officers using knives to deflate car tires during the Minneapolis protests. The first was on May 30, 2020 in the Kmart parking lot at Lake Street and Nicollet Avenue and the second was on the S. Washington Avenue bridge over I-35W on May 31, 2020.
Why would officers do that?
As for the first instance of slashing all the tires in the K-Mart Parking lot, a DPS spokesperson said that, “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.” Basically, to stop parked and unoccupied vehicles from being used as weapons during the protests, they chose to cut all four tires on every car. At the time that the MPD slashed the tires, there were no instances of cars being used as weapons in the Minneapolis protests or riots. The officers’ actions were also justified by statements that there were weapons, such as rocks, in the cars. It is not clear if every car that had its tires slashed also had a weapon in it.
The second time tires were slashed was on the I-35W Bridge. Here, the cops stated that they slashed the tires of the cars because they were illegally parked on the bridge.
While the Department of Public Safety said that cars were being driven through protests at high speeds and a car had been pushed towards law enforcement while it was running, there were no recorded incidents of this happening in Minneapolis.
Is this legal?
While there is a statute that allows police to form acts that would otherwise be illegal, such as using “reasonable force” in the execution of their duties.
Minnesota law says that if you intentionally damage property of another without their consent you have committed a crime. The level of the crime depends upon the value of the property damaged and could be a misdemeanor (up to $500 damage), a gross misdemeanor (up to $1000 damage) or a felony if the damage is more than $1000.
What does this mean? Will the officers be charged?