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KARE 11 Investigates: Records show arrests so far are mostly in-state

Local jail records show the vast majority of those arrested for rioting, unlawful assembly and burglary are Minnesotans.

MINNEAPOLIS — In casting blame on those responsible for the worst damage from the riots, local and state leaders attributed it to people not from Minnesota.

But publicly available data does not support those claims, KARE 11 Investigates has found.

“I think our best estimate of what we heard are about 20 percent are Minnesotans, and 80 percent are outside,” Gov. Tim Walz said during a Saturday morning press conference.

“I want to be very, very clear,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said during the press conference. “The people that are doing this are not Minneapolis residents. They are coming in largely from outside of this city, outside of the region, to prey on everything we have built over the last several decades.”

A review of all the arrests made by Minneapolis-based police agencies for rioting, unlawful assembly and burglary-related crimes from Friday to Saturday tells a different story.

KARE 11 found that of 36 cases, about 86 percent of those arrested listed Minnesota as their address.

The data, taken from the Hennepin County Jail’s roster, shows that nearly all of the people arrested in likely connection to the riots live in Minneapolis or the metro area. The five cases from outside Minnesota were of people listed as living in Missouri, Florida, Arkansas, Michigan and Illinois.

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To be sure, the data is not conclusive and is a small sample size. KARE 11 looked only at the arrests from May 29 to May 30 that were made available on the jail roster as of 11 a.m. Saturday. The records do not say specifically whether a person arrested was connected to the riots and arson. And many of those responsible for the worst destruction escaped apprehension.

Minneapolis Police spokesman John Elder said Saturday afternoon that he believes some of the people arrested have given false addresses.

Data provided Saturday afternoon by St. Paul police also appears to contradict the narrative that the majority of the violence is being caused by people from outside the state.

Of the 18 people arrested from Thursday to Saturday morning, 12 listed Minnesota as their address. Two were from North Dakota, one from Wisconsin, and one from Texas. Addresses for two others weren’t listed.

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter said during the Saturday morning press conference, “Every single person we arrested last night I’m told was from out of state.”

Asked for comment, Peter Leggett, a spokesman for Carter, said in an email, "The Mayor went with the information he had at the time and learned after the media conference more than half are from Minnesota."

During a news conference Saturday evening, Mayor Carter acknowledged the error.

Asked about his comments during the same news conference, Governor Walz declined to repeat his claim that "80 percent" of the violent protesters came from outside Minnesota. He said the estimate was based in part on law enforcement intelligence information and that the state would continue to monitor developments. 

Requests have been made to Mayor Frey’s offices for the data they used to arrive at the conclusions about who was responsible for the destruction, but they have not yet responded.

The data also does not confirm whether white supremacists are behind some of the rioting and looting, as Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington suggested during the Saturday morning press conference.

“As we’ve begun making arrests, we’ve begun analyzing the data of who we’ve arrested,” Harrington said, adding that his agency is attempting to do contact tracing. “Who are they associated with? What platforms are they advocating for? And we have seen things like white supremacist organizers.”

Of those arrested from out of state, only one had a Facebook page who has clearly identifiable support of white supremacy.

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