Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender said Tuesday that someone vandalized her house late last month, leaving traffic cones, cementing a wooden sign to the front porch and shooting paintballs at the house, breaking a window.
No one was injured, and she and her husband have fixed the damage. They filed a police report for insurance purposes, she said.
“I’m disappointed by the vandalism, of course, but we have a large number of very serious issues facing our city, so I’ve just stayed focused on my job,” she said.
Bender said several protests have taken place near her south Minneapolis home in recent weeks, including one July 16 and another July 24. The vandalism occurred shortly afterward. A police report said it happened sometime between 8 p.m. July 25 and 2 a.m. July 26.
The sign cemented to her porch mentioned abolishing the police, she said.
Bender said protesters have gathered at the homes of at least two other council members, but she was not aware of other incidents of vandalism.
The debate about how to remake policing has divided the city. The city’s charter commission will meet Wednesday to consider a City Council proposal to reshape policing.
The City Council in June hired two private security firms to protect City Council members Andrea Jenkins, Alondra Cano and Phillipe Cunningham amid tensions over the killing of George Floyd and the future of the Police Department.
Some first learned of the vandalism on social media when two community activists went public with an e-mail from Bender asking them if they were behind it.
The July 27 e-mail was sent to Michelle Gross, with Communities United Against Police Brutality, and civil rights attorney Nekima Levy Armstrong, both of whom have been outspoken advocates for police reform but have also raised concerns about the council’s charter amendment. The e-mail was also sent to longtime Minneapolis activist Chuck Turchick.
All three denied having anything to do with the vandalism.
“It was shocking, and it was upsetting,” Levy Armstrong said of the e-mail. “I was thinking: You can e-mail me about this, where it’s an accusatory e-mail for something that I did not do, but you can’t engage me on issues that I’ve been advocating for from a legal perspective and from a community-based perspective for many, many years?”
Bender said she believes that they weren’t behind the vandalism but requested that they don’t allow tensions to escalate if they hold more protests near her home.
“My home has never had protests until very recently, and never had vandalism until very recently,” Bender said.