It begins: Owners of restaurant suing Minneapolis over failed response to riots – ‘They destroyed our lives’

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN – A lawsuit was recently filed against the city of Minneapolis and the mayor by a couple of restaurant owners who say their business was vandalized and ultimately burned to the ground during the riots that occurred during the summer of 2020.

The rationale behind the lawsuit alleges that the city and officials failed in their response to contain and quell the riots within Minneapolis.

On February 8th, restaurant owners Kacey White and Charles Stotts filed a lawsuit in Hennepin County District Court alleging that both Mayor Jacob Frey and the city of Minneapolis failed to properly respond to the riots from May 27th and 28th in 2020 – which resulted in the Town Talk Diner & Gastropub burning to the ground.

The now permanently closed restaurant had first opened the doors back in 1946 and remained settled in it’s original location until it was reduced to charred rubble in May of 2020.

According to the lawsuit filed:

“Mayor Frey and the City failed to react to the seriousness of the riots and danger to Minnesotans and they failed to comply with policies to confront and stop the rioters. As a result of Mayor Frey and the City’s failed leadership, Kacey and Charles suffered damages in excess of $4,500,000.00.”

The lawsuit further alleges that Mayor Frey’s decision to have the Third Precinct evacuated essentially left locals and business owners to fend for themselves during the riots that ensued:

“[Mayor Frey] made the decision to evacuate the Third Precinct, removing police officers from the neighborhood, and leaving the citizens of Lake Street to defend themselves and their property.”

City Attorney Jim Rowader has already launched arguments against the filed lawsuit, proclaiming that Mayor Frey had requested support from the National Guard following the police chief’s recommendation, “and as soon as there was any discernible risk of civil unrest and damage to neighborhoods and businesses.”

Rowader further claimed in his pushback against the filed suit that the Minneapolis Police Department had also requested “additional support” during the same evening that Mayor Frey requested assistance from the National Guard:

“The City has provided plaintiffs with these documents, and we are hopeful that they will amend their complaint given this clear and documented evidence.”

Lawsuits aimed at cities and elected officials in the wake of riots that plagued 2020 is nothing new, and they’ve been occurring in cities that were the most hard hit during the riotous year.

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Back in October, we at Law Enforcement Today reported on how a jewelry store owner in Portland, Oregon, is filing suit against the city due to an alleged failed response to keep rioters from looting and destroying their business. 

Here’s that previous report. 

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PORTLAND, OR – Much like business people elsewhere in the country, a Portland jeweler is still reeling from the May 29 riots and looting.

While those who watched newscasts of businesses being destroyed and looted in May might have since forgotten the immediate shock of that chaos, a local jewelry store has yet to recover from the millions of dollars it lost to theft and damage.

Portland was among a handful of cities that erupted in violence after the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Now the owners of the jewelry store are suing the city of Portland for those losses.

The Kassab Jewelers location at 529 SW Broadway in Portland is still closed following the destruction and looting to which the business was subjected on May 29.

According to one of the owners of the jewelry store, Rana Kassab, they feel that Portland officials should have noted the rioting in other cities and been better prepared to combat the looting and rioting in their own city that evening.

Kassab is especially distraught at seeing downtown Portland’s ransacked business district:

“It’s really heartbreaking to see all that beauty and hardship destroyed.”

Kassab explained what she witnessed during the riots, with police visible but doing almost nothing to rein in the rampant crime that night:

“Police were either right outside our door . . . for six minutes police were parked on Alder and Broadway . . . and many SWAT teams and SWAT cars and what not were going up and down Broadway and no one just stopped in to check on our location.”

More than 100 rioters entered the broken-into jewelry store to loot it while the chaos was unfolding throughout the city. Despite calling 911 several times during the violent evening, Kassab says, there was no response other than being told that help was en route. 

As a result, the Kassab family is seeking compensation for the damage done to their business that night. In the lawsuit, the Kassabs say looters stole more than $1.5 million worth of merchandise and generated $500,000 in damage and other losses.

In addition, the Kassabs maintain they have lost an estimated $200,000 since being unable to do business. 

Kassab said that the city needs to be held responsible:

“Things that insurance does not cover and we feel we should not have to come out of pocket for.”

What’s even more sad is that she isn’t sure the store will ever reopen. Kassab said:

“Who knows if we’re ever even going to open back up.”

Portland city officials have not yet commented on the pending lawsuit.

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