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Minneapolis Destroys Near North Camp with Massive Militarized Police-led Attack

In the early dawn, a police officer to the right is partially obscured by a tree, a dozen more police officers, many in riot gear and unholstered large weapons, are visible behind Elfric Porte, a Black man with glasses in a high-visibility vest with his hands in his pockets, and a large black sharp-angled tank-like vehicle a spotlight shining at the camera, an apparent LRAD sound cannon, and a cop with a rifle aimed from the top of the tank. A police car can be seen in the far distance.

Minneapolis • Near North Encampment
10/6/2022

“They rolled up on us like it was a military operation.”

The Near North Encampment at 205 N Girard Ave was evicted at 7am this morning. Residents of the camp were given only 5 minutes to pack what they could carry and vacate their homes. The Minneapolis Police Department, out in force with what some witnesses estimated to be 150 police officers, arrested several encampment defenders for “obstruction.” Residents observed a heightened police presence in the area over the course of the previous 48 hours, including police scouting the camp at 6:30pm the prior evening.

Squad cars, police bicycle units, SWAT vans, arrest vans, undercover cars, and multiple semi trucks rolled up to the camp en masse just before 7am and began setting up roadblocks. Neighbors in the area, outside and bearing witness, described the inhumanity of the police response. “These are my neighbors,” one person observing the police barricade said. “Taking care of people, that is what being a neighbor means.”

Near North Encampment created stability and access to necessary social services for the residents. It is much easier to connect community members with long-term assistance, identity documents, and medical care if they are able to stay in the same place and keep each other safe. Dignity and self determination were at the center of residents’ desires to remain in the community they had built together.

One resident had just secured housing but lost her keys and phone in the eviction this morning and was not permitted to go back and retrieve them. Many residents lost every personal possession they owned, including medications, documents, phones, and warm clothing for the cold nights ahead. Overnight temperatures are likely to dip into the 30s tonight, and winter is coming relentlessly.

The voice repeating ominously through the LRAD speaker that everyone on the unused city lot was trespassing and had five minutes to pack up their belongings and “not return for a year” is reputed to have been Mark Hanneman, the MPD officer who killed Amir Locke.

The City of Minneapolis tore down multiple structures, tents, and campers. At least one resident’s personal car was towed away from the scene of the eviction.

Thousands of dollars of resources, tents, supplies, warm weather clothing, food, and medicine were destroyed. Multiple harm reduction groups were on the ground providing safety supplies and blankets. Dozens of police officers looked on as residents publicly grieved the loss of the community they had worked so hard to create. Shelters are insufficient for the displaced residents who have nowhere to store the few personal effects they were able to grab in the chaos of the early morning eviction. Shelters, by and large, cannot address this problem.

Only housing solves the economic, personal, and growing crisis of houselessness.

People with knowledge of upcoming planned evictions should anonymously contact the encampment eviction tipline at (612) 712-9191 or encampment.tipline@proton.me

All who want to help our neighbors should direct donations of money and useful items to the Sanctuary Supply Depot.

Press release originally written by Reed Eliot.

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