Minneapolis Police pepper spray houseless advocates while doing a sweep of tent community

Minneapolis Police Sweep West Powderhorn Encampment, Pepper Spray Defenders

Minneapolis, MN – On August 14, 2020, Minneapolis Police along with the Park Police pepper sprayed houseless advocates while doing a sweep of the West Powderhorn Sanctuary tent encampment. Tents were bulldozed in scenes reminiscent of July 20 clearing of East Powderhorn.

Hours before severe thunderstorms touched down in Minneapolis, authorities destroyed the property and shelter of people deemed to be in violation of the Minneapolis Park Board ‘temporary encampment permit’ rules. Dozens of sanctuary defenders were unsuccessful in their attempts to prevent the clearing of tents.

This comes two days after city workers were seemingly thwarted from their eviction attempt in Peavey Park. Peavey Park was threatened with eviction on Friday as well and around 50 defenders were present at the park. No sweep was attempted.

After the police left Powderhorn, a 40mm blunt impact projectile, made by Defense Technology, was dropped in the grass by a Minneapolis Police officer in charge of crowd control.

The Minneapolis Police used their Twitter account to state that their officers have “played no part in any enforcement actions at any park sites. The Minneapolis Police Department’s Homeless and Vulnerable Population Unit has consulted with the Minneapolis Park Police departments response teams.

Yet, from the witness accounts and videos, the preponderance of evidence shows the city’s main police force played a role in the enforcement action at Powderhorn Park today.

Earlier in the week, as authorities visited Minneapolis’ Loring Park Sanctuary, we heard from a tent community resident who said that he wouldn’t leave willingly had the police come as he had nowhere to go.

Thousands of unhoused people are sleeping in any number of shelters, streets, and parks on any given night in the Twin Cities metro.

Following a wave of political posturing after the George Floyd uprising, Park Board officials in Minneapolis said they canceled their ties with the police and called Minneapolis parks sanctuary spaces for the unhoused. Less than two months later, Minneapolis police are carrying out ‘eviction’ orders of tent encampments in Minneapolis parks.

Unicorn Riot's 2020-24 Unhoused Crisis in Minneapolis:

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