One question that arose during the non-stop weekend coverage of the chaos and mayhem created by rioters and looters was why are they focusing on Target stores? It’s not just happening in Minneapolis, the city of the company’s headquarters, but in other cities, too. There may be a reason – there’s a history here.
Adweek has an interesting piece on why Target is being, well, targeted by the anarchists and thieves who are looting stores in the chain. It’s not a random choice. A young woman aired grievances via a Twitter thread explaining the corporation’s history of supporting and funding local police. I would post that Twitter thread but her account is protected now – not available to be seen by the public. I assume she started receiving blowback and didn’t want the negative attention.
Minneapolis is the epicenter of Target branding. Target’s Bull Terrier mascot is seen when the Twins make a home run at Target Field. Target Center is the home of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Lynx. Target also has a history of supporting the Minneapolis Police Department. That makes the corporation an enemy in the eyes of the rioters.
In 2004, Target donated $300,000 to the city’s police department to set up surveillance cameras throughout downtown Minneapolis—reportedly covering a roughly 40-block radius—as part of its SafeZone Collaborative program. It later evolved into a nonprofit called the Downtown Improvement District, and while it no longer relies on Target’s donations, Target still supports and hosts initiatives with police (like its decade-long Heroes and Helpers program). In 2011, Target established a forensics crime lab at its campus in Brooklyn Park, Minn., which creates high-resolution images from surveillance data collected by cameras. Minneapolis police told MPR News in 2011 that they don’t use Target’s forensic services often, but they sometimes do (free of charge).
To state the obvious, anarchists and the far left don’t support the police. In their backward world, the people paid to protect and serve are the bad guys.
Did you know that in 2004 Target spent 300k on cameras in downtown #Minneapolis to help MPD terrorize black + brown community members? And that Target actively funds the lie that cops exist to “protect communities”? pic.twitter.com/uQIKxumOX9
— Denise 🌾 (@denisecheeseman) May 28, 2020
A $2.8 million hiring discrimination complaint filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was settled with Target in 2015. According to the EEOC, the corporation used three employee assessments in the application process that disproportionally kicked out applicants based on race, gender and ability.
Another layer added to the discontent of the rioters and looters is the claim that the Lake Street store that received so much social media attention last week was refusing to sell rioters supplies to help those affected by chemical sprays used by law enforcement. Items like milk and baking soda are used by those who are sprayed or are exposed to chemical irritants. There is video from a St. Paul resident that contradicts that alleged grievance, though.
— Say-Zar (@SupremeCesarr) May 27, 2020
The Target on Lake Street, a major commercial corridor, is in front of the 3rd Precinct police station that protesters overtook and burned down on Thursday night. Target was cleaned out by looters.
The Midway location of a Target store is thought to have been targeted because of its location in what was once St. Paul’s largest black neighborhood, Rondo. It was disrupted by developers in the 1950s and 1960s to build an interstate highway, I-94.
A spokesperson for Target explained that the Lake Street Target was closed early on Wednesday out of safety concerns for its employees.
“We are heartbroken by the death of George Floyd and the pain it is causing our community,” Target spokeswoman Danielle Schumann told Business Insider in a statement. “We decided to close our Lake Street store earlier today and worked to ensure all of our team members were accounted for and safe. Our focus will remain on our team members’ safety and helping our community heal. Until further notice, our store will remain closed.”
Target’s CEO Brian Cornwell hopes to have the Lake Street store rebuilt by the end of the year. The store employs 200 people. So far an assessment of the damage hasn’t been possible.
“It’s just so hard to tell until you get the team inside and really understand the extent of the damages,” he told the Star Tribune. “But we’ll do our very best to get the store back up and running as soon as we can, hopefully by the end of the year.”
The store’s 200 employees will be paid for at least two weeks and will be able to transfer to other locations.
In addition to the Target store, a Cub Foods and Aldi store that were key sources of groceries for the neighborhood have also been damaged and remain closed.
In the interim, Target is working with local nonprofits to provide first aid equipment, medicine, bottled water, baby formula, diapers and other essentials for the community.
Most Americans are happy to see companies support local police and law enforcement agencies in their communities. Anarchists have no interest in building safe, livable communities. They are absolutely shameless, destroying property and looting in broad daylight. Their mission is to create divisions and chaos. The riots are particularly hard to watch at this time when so many businesses and their employees are struggling to reopen after the coronavirus pandemic shut down the national economy. Now these employees, who managed to hang on to their jobs during the pandemic, face unemployment due to the violence that comes from these protests.