Motorists whose vehicles had their tires punctured by State Patrol troopers during recent street unrest in Minneapolis can claim they were mistakenly targeted and pursue reimbursement for the damages.

The state Department of Public Safety and an assisting agency acknowledged this week that parked and unattended vehicles in at least two locations had their tires deflated. They defended the tactic as necessary to protect officers and others from being run over during the sometimes-violent upheaval on May 30-31 in connection with the death of George Floyd.

Video and photos of damaged vehicles in the Kmart parking lot on Lake Street and at an intersection west of the University of Minnesota circulated widely on social media. Many vehicles had all four tires punctured. Replacing all the tires would cost several hundred dollars.

One of the motorists estimated that 30 to 40 vehicles in the Kmart lot had their tires deflated, while DPS spokesman Bruce Gordon put the total across the city at no more than 20, “some of which were stolen [and] were being used as weapons against law enforcement during violent protests.”

The state said claimants should request a form by sending an e-mail to risk.management@state.mn.us, then fill out the three-page document, which includes details about the person making the claim and the circumstances leading to the damage.

Gordon said he did not know how long claimants should expect to wait before receiving a determination.

Deputies from the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office cut holes in the tires of two vehicles that were abandoned in the street on S. Washington Avenue over Interstate 35W.

Sheriff’s Lt. Andy Knotz said that “our Office will not be compensating for damages as a result of the vehicles being left on the Washington bridge.”

Knotz went on to explain, “These particular two vehicles were illegally abandoned on the roadway and a potential hazard that could have been used as mobile weapons.”