Minnesota attorney general Keith Ellison (D.) on Tuesday blamed police for the damage rioters caused following the killing of George Floyd.
Ellison, a former Democratic member of the House of Representatives and deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee, laid responsibility on law enforcement for the "cost of civil unrest."
"Even if people don't break windows, you still gotta pay overtime for officers who are going to be managing that situation," Ellison said during a Washington Post event. "Police brutality is expensive."
Riots in Minneapolis in summer 2020 caused $500 million worth of destruction and damaged more than 1,500 businesses, which are expected to take years to rebuild—the second-most destructive city riots behind the 1992 riots in Los Angeles. Participants clashed with police, ravaged local businesses, and even burned down the city's Third Police Precinct building. One year later, a fraction of them faced criminal charges, as 95 percent of misdemeanors were dismissed. Just 11 faced felony charges.
Bail fund groups like the Minnesota Freedom Fund, which raised more than $40 million in 2020, helped release many from jail. Vice President Kamala Harris was among a group of Democratic politicians who at the time encouraged people to donate to the fund.
During the riots, Ellison told Minneapolis residents to "pay attention" and not "dismiss" the behavior as "criminality." He also encouraged them to direct their anger at city police, rather than the National Guard, which he said was called in to restore order.
This Washington Free Beacon reporter planned on attending in-person but was kicked out of the event for not having received a booster COVID-19 vaccination shot. The District of Columbia does not require vaccine boosters.