As a reporter who keeps her DMs open on Twitter, I sometimes wake up to messages like this:
“BLM taking over Lake St at Girard in Uptown. Photo [above] is mine. They are setting up for a long haul. One protestor confronted me when I was taking pics and asked if I knew what was going on there. I said, ‘Yes, protesting Winston Smith's shooting,’ and she said, “No, but do you know what happened? That he was unarmed and shot?’ I said yes. Didn't want any confrontation. Just wanted to take some pics and go home.”
She sent the message at 10:40pm. Just before 1am, she followed up with, “Chaos”:
“Report (unconfirmed) that woman was struck by man going 80+ mph in SUV and is deceased. I think the woman struck was the same person who confronted me earlier for taking pictures. This is all terrible.”
It was all terrible, as was the video she linked (I only watched the first few minutes), of people trying to aid the victim, of the driver being dragged by the neck and tied up by frantic bystanders, of people screaming.
The victim had been killed. Her name was Deona Marie Knajdek.
“I'm so very tired of all of this stuff,” my source wrote. “Last night I was truly angry again vs just sad and disheartened.”
“I was in that exact spot [where Knajdek was killed] around 9:20 pm when I took the photographs. I have the victim's car in my shots (and the victim). I am pretty certain she is the person who spoke to me when I was taking pictures, and that was her car. It’s a very, very sad and unfortunate incident that did not need to occur. The city condoned this street being shut down, and someone lost their life because of it.
“For context: They shut down Lake Street at Girard, which is one block east of Hennepin. Hennepin and Lake is one of Minneapolis' busiest intersections and form the heart of Uptown. Cars often zip through from Lake Street heading east. It’s a one-way there; there are 3 lanes of traffic and they’re slanted slightly upwards so it’s hard to see the next block if you're on the west side of Hennepin. The blockade started a block in; if you're already speeding through Hennepin on Lake (and especially if you're drunk or on drugs), it is entirely possible to not see that blockade until it’s too late... Very dangerous.”
I asked a Minneapolis-area officer what he thought was going to happen to the city:
“There isn’t the critical mass behind this one as there was behind GF [George Floyd]. Winston Smith was a murder suspect wanted on several gun crime warrants with a long criminal history who decided to shoot it out with the cops. Gun found at the scene, despite what his passenger is now saying…
“The activist corps that will show up regardless of the circumstances is out protesting, but the mainstream lefties that were out for GF aren’t because the average Minneapolis resident is getting sick of this crime wave, gun crime in particular. Big reason they cleared out GF square was the residents who were initially sympathetic got sick of the violent crime with minimal police response.
“Overall I think the fringe has lost the street momentum they had last summer, and with the conviction, more moderate lefties like my parents are saying, “The system worked.” The next round of city council elections will be really interesting. My guess is some of these radical anti-Trump wave councilors will be gone.
“My sense is it’s not going to heat up unless cops do something stupid, and all the MPD [Minneapolis Police Department] cops I know are doing the bare minimum, no proactivity, just answer calls and take reports while they look for new jobs. The juice of copping there ain’t worth the squeeze for them anymore.”
A reporter in Portland messaged today that officers there seem to be experiencing a similar lack of initiative:
“I think the real issue in the city right now is how the protests have affected policing in the city. Whether you think the skyrocketing violence is directly correlated or not, people are frustrated and police are slow to respond to crime (if they do at all).”
“Antifa/BLM destruction feels like it's fading into the background and becoming like an STD that flares up every once in a while. Just add it to the list of problems Portland is dealing with.”
Problems such as what a Portland friend wrote last night, about my old neighborhood:
“The main thing that's noticeable is that on a regular basis, some 2-5 dozen people march around in the neighborhood streets on a regular basis, sorta snaking up and down between Killingsworth and Alberta, either going east toward 15th or west toward Vancouver/Williams. I've seen it no less than 4 times in the past 4-6 weeks, and I'm sure they're doing it in other areas -- they're usually chanting various things on a regular basis, and the newest development is they have people with rifles (no clue if armed or not) toward the front of the pack, and there will be a car on each end of the pack as well.”
I am heading to Portland this Friday and will report what I find.
I’m just back from a 20-day road trip (Knoxville-Nashville-Tulsa-Austin-New Orleans-St. Pete-Miami-Key West (sunset cruise with The Fifth Column boys and the very best breakfast at La Nina Restaurant on Marathon Key)-Savannah-Outer Banks, and oh the water there…), on which I was often asked where I thought Portland was headed. My answer was that things will escalate or deescalate (brilliant, I know) but that people are still moving there; that the city still beams its message of livability, that housing prices are up. That said, The Economist [possible paywall] asked the question I did a few weeks ago in a piece for The Dispatch: How long before perception becomes reality?
Enough doom and gloom, how about some cookies?
Tune in tomorrow morning to maybe see us eating them!
Leaving you a shot of that water off the Outer Banks, which I swam in on my last morning on the road, and which I sometimes think about before falling asleep.
Until soon, with love and shortbread xx
Minneapolis sure isn’t the same place.