Business owners recount Twin Cities riots, damage during Senate oversight hearing

Business owner Jim Stage grew emotional during senate testimony Wednesday speaking about his burned-down pharmacy.

A Minnesota Senate oversight committee heard from half a dozen business owners in the Twin Cities Wednesday whose businesses were damaged during the unrest after the death of George Floyd.

Sen. Scott Newman chaired the committee meeting and said he expects up to six more hearings about the topic.

It began contentiously as Sen. Matt Little tried to make a statement, but was denied by Newman because he was not the ranking Democrat. Little then gave up his seat to Sen. Patricia Torres-Ray, a Minneapolis senator of color.

Republicans paused the hearing to play an 18-minute video compilation of TV news clips and social media posts chronicling the rioting.

One hour after the hearing began, Republicans called the first business owner to testify. He was Michael Shoff of Shoff Chiropractic.

Another speaker, Minneapolis property manager Quentin Scherer, said his calls to Minneapolis Police Department’s Fifth Precinct during the riots seeking help protecting his property were met with shrugs. He said an officer told him, “I should call the mayor’s office or call the police chief.”

Jim Stage, owner of Lloyd’s Pharmacy in St. Paul, grew emotional describing how his business burned. He said he expects to rebuild.

Newman said future hearings on the subject will include people from the community, police and the Minnesota National Guard.