Mayor’s statement on curfew

Featured photo from yesterday’s demonstration near the Law Enforcement Center. Photo by Larissa Donovan.

Bemidji’s Mayor, Rita Albrecht, issued a statement today in response to the demonstration yesterday and the subsequent curfew, which continues tonight from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. tomorrow, Monday, June 1.

The demonstration gathered hundreds to the downtown Bemidji area, one of several large demonstrations held across the state and the nation after George Floyd died while in Minneapolis Police custody on Memorial Day.

According to her letter, “We also took preemptive measures to reduce the potential for fires by calling in Waste Management to empty dumpsters in the downtown at 6 p.m. Saturday. Many of those dumpsters were found to have already been laid with accelerants (gas) and flammables (bags of leaves and broken up pallets).”

Albrecht also said in her letter that there was one complaint for violation of last night’s curfew.

“We are aware of multiple inaccurate rumors on social media that can lead to misunderstanding and violence. The city did not request, nor do we condone vigilantes patrolling within the city limits, now or at any time. We have received a complaint for violation of curfew related to this. An outside agency will be requested to investigate the complaint and their findings will be forwarded to the prosecutor for review and charges.”

Albrecht acknowledged in her statement that “no city or law enforcement has a perfect record with regards to minority policing, including Bemidji,” and that the curfew was not in reaction to the peaceful protests from yesterday, but in response to credible threats to property and people.

Read the full statement from Albrecht.

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