In the first few days after George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police, rioters tore through dense stretches of Minneapolis, St. Paul and other metro communities in retaliation, causing millions in property damage to more than 1,500 locations.
In their wake, vandals left a trail of smashed doors and windows, covered hundreds of boarded-up businesses with graffiti and set fire to nearly 150 buildings, with dozens burned to the ground. Pharmacies, groceries, liquor stores, tobacco shops and cell phone stores were ransacked, losing thousands of dollars in stolen merchandise. Many were looted repeatedly over consecutive nights.
Other property — like gas stations, restaurants and even parked cars — was set on fire, with much of it completely destroyed.
The full extent of damage to Twin Cities buildings — including residences, churches, non-profits and minority-owned businesses — could take weeks or months to calculate. Already on the ropes from months of lost revenue during a global pandemic, some businesses may never reopen as others are still temporarily or indefinitely closed.
Buildings along a 5-mile stretch of Lake Street in Minneapolis and a 3.5-mile stretch of University Avenue in St. Paul's Midway area experienced some of the heaviest damage. While this is an incomplete list, here’s a look at some of those hardest-hit areas.
Heavy damage near Minneapolis police precincts
For three consecutive nights starting on Wednesday, May 27, rioters pummeled blocks worth of buildings near the Minneapolis’ Third and Fifth police precincts, inflicting heavy damage.
On Thursday night, protesters torched and heavily vandalized the Third Precinct, and destroyed at least 20 nearby buildings, including several restaurants, an Auto Zone, Minnehaha Lake Wine & Spirits, a U.S. Post Office, a cellphone store and the building that housed Talk Town Diner, El Nuevo Rodeo and others. Midtown Corner, a multi-story affordable housing project that was still under construction, erupted into a towering inferno, burning so hot that it melted siding off a nearby house.
The following night, about three miles west of the Third Precinct, protesters blanketed the area near the Fifth Precinct, heavily damaging at least seven buildings — including a U.S. Post Office, a Wells Fargo branch, a staffing agency and a Subway in a nearby strip mall. Authorities also reported that shots had been fired at officers in the Fifth Precinct area, but there were no reports of injuries.
Fires near Midtown Global Market, heavy looting in Uptown
The Midtown Global Market area experienced one of the most concentrated tolls during the Floyd riots. More than a dozen businesses near E. Lake Street and Chicago Avenue were destroyed by fire, and a few dozen more reported fire damage with many being burned severely.
Less than two miles to the west near Hennepin Avenue and W. Lake Street, nearly 40 businesses were broken into or heavily looted, including large retailers like H&M, Timberland, an Apple store, Kitchen Window and Urban Outfitters. Just a few blocks away near Lyndale Avenue and W. Lake Street, a cluster of nearly 30 businesses sustained property damage, including several restaurants and bars. There was almost no fire damage in this area, a stark contrast to other clusters along Lake Street.
Miles of damage along University Avenue
Across the river in St. Paul, the hardest-hit area was a 1-mile stretch of the Midway along University Avenue between Snelling and Lexington avenues, although damage extended a few miles, stopping just short of the State Capitol. In all, more than 70 businesses were hit, with more than a dozen sustaining serious fire damage.
Twin Cities surrounding area
Rioters hit buildings well beyond Minneapolis and St. Paul, with damage reported as far north as Blaine and as far south as Apple Valley. Meanwhile, clusters of attacked storefronts sprang up in places like Richfield, North St. Paul, Maplewood, Brooklyn Center and Roseville.
Explore our list
See our running list below for buildings in Minneapolis, St. Paul and surrounding areas that sustained property damage. Business owners: Are we missing a business or building damaged during protests? Or does something need to be corrected? Help us fill in the gaps by filling out this form.
Michael Corey, Andrew Krammer, Megan Ryan, Chris Hine, Faiza Mahamud, Kim Hyatt, Jeff Hargarten, Thomas Oide, Salma Loum, Eric Roper, Marissa Evans, Ray Grumney, Eddie Thomas, Jim Foster and Mark Boswell contributed to this report.