Minneapolis business owner threatens Mayor Jacob Frey with lawsuit
Mark Thompson, an attorney representing the grocery store Cup Foods, and a number of other businesses, sent a letter obtained by Fox News threatening to sue Frey and the Minneapolis City Council. In letter, Thompson accused the city has acted negligently and caused businesses in the area to suffer damages.
“My clients and I request a meeting with the mayor and all council members at their earliest convenience to discuss our concerns in greater detail and to see if we can come to some sort of agreement without initiating litigation,” Thompson wrote.
Cup Foods spokesperson Jamar Nelson told Fox News that the city has had barricades installed around the area since about May after Floyd died and protests flared that have deterred potential customers.
“We’re concerned, as a business, that the barriers have created a rest haven for crime,” he said.
The barricades, and a spike in violent crime in the area, has created “financial hardships for businesses, the community and homeowners.” The two issues combined represent mental and physical barriers keeping customers away from businesses, he said.
“While the letter emanated from the Cup Foods attorney, it’s not solely about Cup Foods. It’s about the community,” Nelson said.
The area has also “become a place where police have become unwelcome,” he added.
“People know it’s not a safe environment…and if something happens, people don’t believe the police will show up, or if they do show up, won’t be able to [fend off] any hostile crowds,” he said.
Cup Foods found itself at the center of Floyd’s death after an employee dialed 911 when Floyd attempted to use a counterfeit $20 bill. The call led to Floyd’s arrest when former Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes; Floyd died later after attempts to revive him failed, according to a timeline by nonprofit news organization MinnPost.com.
In a May 31 Facebook post, Cup Foods owner Mahmoud Abumayyaleh expressed his sympathies for Floyd’s family and explained that a Minnesota state policy requires stores to report counterfeit bills to police but added that Cup Foods will no longer continue to do so.
“Police are supposed to protect and serve their communities; instead, what we’ve seen over and over again is the police abusing their power and violating the people’s trust. … By simply following procedure we are putting our communities in danger. Until the police stop killing innocent people, we will handle incidents like this one using non-violent tactics that do not involve police,” Abumayyaleh wrote.