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Hennepin County Judge pauses Roof Depot demolition

Updated: Apr 17

Activists become outraged after Minneapolis city council fails a vote to stop the demolition of the Roof Depot in South Minneapolis. (cityofminneapolis via YouTube)

A Hennepin County judge has temporarily halted the demolition of the Roof Depot warehouse in south Minneapolis, putting a pause on a battle between the Phillips neighborhood and the city that has intensified over the past week.

Opponents of the demolition say the destruction will release arsenic into the air; the city wishes to use the space to expand public works and water utility areas.

Judge Edward Wahl previously denied the East Phillips Neighborhood Institute’s request to stop the demolition, saying the plaintiff’s did not meet the burden of proof that the demolition would cause “irreparable harm.” The judge said that the order is intended to pause the demolition in the case the EPNI wins its case against the demolition. The case is currently under review in the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

The area around the planned demolition is classified by the city of Minneapolis as a “green zone,” a group of neighborhoods with high levels of pollution and economic and racial marginalization. Activists confronted the city council at a meeting Thursday morning, and after a proposed amendment by Councilmember Jason Chavez failed to stop the demolition, activists started yelling and were eventually escorted out of the room.

The pause on the demolition comes as three city council members - LaTrisha Vetaw, Michael Rainville, and Emily Koski - filed police reports against various activists for the outbreak at the meeting and after, citing terroristic threats and misdemeanor assault.

A video surfaced showing Twin CIties activist D.J. Hooker confronting councilmember Vetaw on her vote to continue the demolition, leading to an altercation and Hooker’s phone being taken. Hooker has filed a complaint against the councilmember saying his phone case was damaged.

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