The owner of a auto repair shop said was he was violently attacked last month near a barricaded “autonomous zone” that has impeded authorities from responding to emergencies.
The owner of Mill City Autobody, who asked to only be identified by his first name, Dan, out of concerns for his safety, told Fox News that a man came from the so-called occupied zone dubbed “The Free State of George Floyd” and knocked him unconscious Aug. 5 and attempted to rob him.
“I was in my office and I heard a noise. I was talking to the guy and I woke up after that in the hospital,” he said. “He broke my computer and took stuff out of my desk.”
First responders were prolonged during attempts to reach the business because of hostile crowds, according to Dan’s wife, who wished to remain anonymous out of fear of retaliation. She said the area is filled with barricades, making it difficult for police and medical personnel to navigate and respond to emergencies in a timely manner.
“It is difficult for ambulances to even come in here when they have to remove some of these things to get through,” she said.
The Minneapolis Police Department said it took 14 minutes to respond to the assault with an EMS crew, KSTP-TV reported.
“The crowd from the George Floyd Memorial began moving toward us and people were hollering that they were going to kick our a—- and that we would have to kill them,” an internal police report obtained by the news station said.
Marcia Howard, who works with a citizens’ group to help keep order in the autonomous zone, told the station the report is misleading. She said responders were unimpeded and were not met with hostile crowds.
Police spokesman John Elder told Fox News there is no autonomous zone but that crowds do interrupt police and medical responders.
“This autonomous zone talk is ridiculous. We literally are patrolling every inch of this city that is public property bar non, period,” Elder said, while acknowledging emergency response is difficult in some parts of the city.
“We have people throwing items at our officers as they’re trying to get Narcan to a woman that overdosed,” he added. “There are certain pockets of this city where we meet substantial resistance.”
Messages to the city from Fox News were not returned. In a statement to KSTP, the city said there is no autonomous zone but that it is in negotiations with people occupying the area and is working toward a phased reopening.
Dan’s wife said the person who assaulted her husband has been arrested, but not before he came back to the shop at least twice with a bat and firearm to make threats. She urged protesters and unruly crowds to move on from Floyd‘s death, which became the catalyst for nationwide protests and unrest in recent months.
“Justice is going to be served but, at the same time, there’s four blocks of hundreds of people and businesses that are trying to continue on with their lives,” she said. “We’re like captive here. It’s like a block under siege.”
*story by Fox News