Eyewitness rebukes group that vandalized Lincoln Target, credits quick response by police
"I feel comfortable saying there was a very, very small number of people behaving that way but it doesn't take that many people to cause that much damage."
After hundreds of people gathered at the state capitol Monday night for a peaceful protest, many of them went home.
But a smaller group began walking down O St., wound up at the Target on 48th St. and began vandalizing it.
Manuel de la Torre caught the crimes on camera.
“I feel comfortable saying there was a very, very small number of people behaving that way but it doesn’t take that many people to cause that much damage,” de la Torre said.
de la Torre had been at the capitol and was walking with the group when he saw a few people start to run towards the store, which had been boarded up earlier in the day. The vandals threw rocks at the top windows and even had a crowbar trying they used to try to pry off pieces of the plywood barricade.
“Really its just collective behavior that takes over,” de la Torre said. “I saw a few people start running up and then the next thing you know it’s three, it’s five, it’s 15.”
Shortly after the rioting began, law enforcement swarmed the parking lot and used tear gas to disperse the vandals. Several were arrested.
“(I’m) really, really thankful for them to show up only a minute or two after things started because things could have been worse,” de la Torre said. “A few people did get arrested but I didn’t see any kind of abuse of power.”
de la Torre said the actions of the vandals didn’t reflect the message or purpose of the protesters from earlier in the night. He says he knows vandalism and violence can take away from the call for justice in the wake of George Floyd’s death. He hopes people will remember the peaceful moments that occurred on the capitol steps, including when a state trooper knelt in solidarity with the protesters.