March 1, 2021
Submitted by Carol Becker
Sheila Nezhad (Mayoral candidate) wrote in “Minneapolis doesn’t need a National Guard Occupation” how she believes that the deployment of the National Guard during the riots in May did nothing to protect Minneapolis. Nothing could be further from the truth.
I spent the two nights of the riots guarding my father’s condo building two blocks from the Third Precinct. I stood there all night both nights, confronting arsonists and looters and people bent on destruction, trying to make sure my father’s home wasn’t destroyed. I had a gun pulled on me. I got a baseball bat to my car. I was physically threatened repeatedly. I watched helplessly as gangs looted the Sprint Store and CitiTrends. I watched people loot HiLake Liquor the first night and then come back the second night. I watched people throw Molotov cocktails at the Wells Fargo Bank. I watched people loot the Seven Mile Beauty store, stealing armfuls of weaves and putting them in their car, which had “Black Lives Matter” scrawled on it. I saw a minivan driving off from the furniture store with a chair strapped to it. I watched hundreds of people looting my Target Store in broad daylight. I watched them set the Dollar General store on fire the first night and no fire department came. I watched arsonists carry propane tanks into the furniture and beauty stores and heard the propane tanks explode and I watched these businesses burn to the ground. I picked up a nine-millimeter shell off the Target parking lot.
If you don’t believe me, I have pictures.
I asked people why they did it. The answer was unanimous. There were no consequences. One of the looters asked his friends, “Where should we go loot next?” Because there was no one to stop him.
Why did they stop? On my corner, at 3:30 am on the second night, the National Guard set up a perimeter in front of our building. And it all stopped. All the looters and arsonists and violence just melted away. I can’t describe the depth of my relief. I wanted to hug the National Guard.
I would also note that they arrived hours after the arsonists set fire to the HiLake Mall, not before as Nezhad claims.
Nezhad believes these were peaceful protesters “exercising their constitutional right to free speech and assembly.” The Lake Street destruction shows the truth.