MINNEAPOLIS – Donald Trump is long gone, but the back and forth between Minneapolis city leaders and the Minnesota Republican Party continues.
The Republican presidential nominee was in Minneapolis Friday night for a fundraiser, his first visit to the city since becoming a presidential candidate.
As Trump supporters left the event they were heckled, called racists, and spit at and pushed by about two dozen protesters, many in black masks. Garbage cans were thrown as police escorted Trump supporters to their cars. A swastika and obscenities were also spray painted on the walls of the Minneapolis Convention Center.
Minnesota Republican Party Chairman Keith Downey sent a letter to Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges and state Democratic chair Ken Martin demanding answers for the behavior of some that night.
"Ken Martin needs to apologize for and denounce this disgusting display of bullying and physical confrontation" said Downey in a statement Monday. "Democrats are free to protest, but physically accosting people is becoming all too common, and it needs to stop. This is exactly why people are supporting Donald Trump and have lost confidence in political leaders from Minneapolis to Washington DC. And Mayor Hodges needs to provide answers for the lack of protection for the event's attendees."
The letter Downey wrote to Hodges asked three questions:
- Did any Democrat Party or advocacy group representative attempt to influence your approach to handling the Trump event?
- What was the protocol in place that night, and why did you not instruct Minneapolis Police to intervene to halt the abuse and protect the attendees' access to the facility?
- What assurances can you provide that similar situations will not occur in the future?
Mayor Hodges responded to the letter Tuesday. She replied, "No," to the first question. She then directed Downey to a Minneapolis Police Department statement issued Monday.
In the statement, police say they are investigating three reports of criminal activity.
"The majority of protests were peaceful throughout the evening," the statement read. "Police provided approximately 50 escorts for those who attended the event. However, we understand there were some who chose to leave without escorts and that they were the subject of intimidation and abuse."
Trump t shirt on fire outside the convention center. Earlier protesters clashed with a man supporting Trump. pic.twitter.com/xNi3w1js4S— Lauren Leamanczyk (@LaurenKARE11) August 19, 2016
Police say they are looking at video from some of the incidents and say any rumors or reports that officers were told to "stand down" are false. The department says it had "dozens" of officers working at or near the convention center Friday night.
"I expect everyone in Minneapolis to behave with civility and respect," Hodges said Tuesday. "Minneapolis has a long history of effectively balancing public safety with First Amendment rights. I continue to be confident in the ability of the Minneapolis Police Department to manage protests in accordance with these principles."
At this point, no arrests have been made.