Why looting happens in some protests

A window is broken looking into a building.
Windows are broken in the first floor of the Target headquarters during unrest in downtown Minneapolis on Wednesday.
Tim Nelson | MPR News file

Dozens of businesses reported property damage in downtown Minneapolis last week. It came after a night of looting and vandalism following what authorities said was misinformation about the apparent suicide of a man in the city’s downtown business district.

It was reminiscent of the days after George Floyd’s killing in late May and early June when dayslong unrest left about 1,500 buildings damaged in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

So, why does looting happen in some protests?


  • Andrea Boyles is a sociologist and author of the book, “You Can’t Stop the Revolution: Community Disorder and Social Ties in Post-Ferguson America.” She studies race, social justice and Black citizen-police conflict. 

  • Tawanna Black is the CEO of the Center for Economic Inclusion, a St. Paul-based nonprofit that works to close the wage gaps between white people and people of color in the Twin Cities.

  • Melvin Tennant is the president and CEO of Meet Minneapolis, the city's convention and visitors bureau.

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