Crime, Law and Justice

30 people arrested amid July 4 chaos in Minneapolis

uniformed police chief speaks beside river
Minneapolis Police Chief Brian O'Hara speaks to reporters about fireworks-related arrests on Friday at Boom Island Park.
Matt Sepic | MPR News

More than two dozen teens and young adults were jailed late Thursday and early Friday after allegedly shooting fireworks at vehicles and people in Minneapolis.

Police arrested 30 people and cited five others amid a night of chaos that centered around the Dinkytown neighborhood. The suspects range in age from 15 to 23; the majority are adults.

Unlike July 4 melees last year and in 2022, Chief Brian O'Hara told reporters at a Friday news conference that there were no reports of fireworks-related injuries or gun violence.

“Those things are the good news,” O’Hara said. “The bad news is that once again we had groups of teenagers and young adults attacking police and other persons and property by throwing fireworks at them.”

As in past years, O’Hara said the groups organized on social media. He credited Park Police Chief Jason Ohotto’s decision to close parkways to vehicle traffic with keeping large groups of youth away from the Chain of Lakes — a key trouble spot last year.

O’Hara said he was on patrol in Dinkytown with a group of officers when someone lobbed a mortar at them.

“It was literally louder than when a shotgun goes off very close to you,” O’Hara said. “That’s the power of these things. If that thing had gotten into a car, if it had gotten too close to one of the pedestrians out there, it could have taken a limb off if not kill a person.”

A spokesperson for the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office said in an email to MPR News on Friday that prosecutors are reviewing cases against 17 adults and two juveniles for possible charges, and are awaiting information from police on one additional adult and three other people.

The arrests this year are nearly double those of 2023, when around 16 people, mostly juveniles, were booked in connection with July 4 chaos.

Court records show that one of the adults arrested last year, Iyub Qays Ali, 21, was convicted at trial in March of fleeing police in a motor vehicle. A jury acquitted Ali of assault and riot charges.

In May, Judge Marta Chou sentenced Ali to 10 days of community service and three years of supervised probation. If he completes his probation successfully, Ali’s felony conviction will go on his record as a misdemeanor.

A second 2023 defendant, Zamir Abdulkadir Yassin, 19, pleaded guilty in March to a gross misdemeanor riot charge and received 30 days of home detention with electronic monitoring along with two years of supervised probation.

Neither Ali nor Yassin were among those booked into the Hennepin County Jail Thursday and Friday.