Police: Punctured tires were meant to prevent use of ‘cars as weapons’

Video showing a deputy puncturing the tires of two cars was part of a strategy to keep automobiles from being used as weapons against protesters or police, according to law enforcement.  

The tactic has provoked outrage from protesters and journalists who say it was done indiscriminately.  

Video from of a network pool feed of protests May 31 along Washington Avenue and 35W shows a deputy at 1:15:10 puncturing the front and back tires of two cars multiple times. Law enforcement sources identified the officer from his patch as an Anoka County Sheriff’s deputy.  

A spokesperson for the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office confirms the officer is their deputy and say he was instructed to disable the vehicles by the Multi-Agency Command Center (MACC) operated by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS).  The MACC has been coordinating the response to the protests.

Asked about the puncturing of tires by law enforcement, Bruce Gordon, a DPS spokesperson, said “These were strategies for individual situations, but not a general order from the MACC.” 

“As in all operations of this size, there will be a review about how these decisions were made,” said Gordon.  

There are unconfirmed reports of unmanned “ghost cars” being sent down Lake Street in the direction of police.  

The vehicles on Washington Avenue were allegedly parked illegally and abandoned. 

Other reports say tires were slashed in the K-Mart parking lot near the Fifth Precinct, including cars belonging to peaceful protesters, medics, and reporters.