From food and toiletries collection to sign holding, residents offer support, businesses shutter early

Forest Lake area residents offered support to neighbors in Minneapolis and St. Paul following a week of distress, heartbreak, and chaos.

Protests, riots and looting have taken place in the Twin Cities after George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died in police custody May 25 after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, restrained Floyd with a knee on his neck.

Chauvin and three other officers were fired May 26, and the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension arrested Chauvin Friday, May 29. Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Friday that Chauvin faces third-degree murder charges and manslaughter charges and said the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office was reviewing further charges in the case. Gov. Tim Walz announced Sunday, May 31, that Attorney General Keith Ellison will take the lead in any prosecutions related to Floyd’s death.

Several Forest Lake businesses closed their doors earlier than normal over concerns of riots, which had already played out in Minneapolis and St. Paul in response to the death of Floyd. Targets across the state closed early, including the Forest Lake location, which closed its doors at 7 p.m. Sunday, one hour earlier than normal, as did Menard’s. Cub Foods closed at 8 p.m. Friday through Sunday, two hours earlier than normal.

Area residents took to the streets and parking lots to voice their opinions and solicit donations to supply families with food and toiletries in Minneapolis who were negatively impacted by the closure of food programs and grocery stores.

Kyrstin Tenjack, a former resident of Forest Lake and current teacher in the Minneapolis School District, along with her mother Mary Tenjack, a former teacher at Linwood Elementary School, collected donations to bring to her school for distribution on Sunday, May 31. 

Tenjack said the response from the community was overwhelming. She plans on the collection of donations being a regular occurrence.

“The needs will last much longer,” Tenjack said.

Mark Nelson, of Stacy, began holding his sign about injustice of George Floyd’s death at the corner of Broadway Ave and Lake Street in Forest Lake on Monday, June 1.

“This is the first time I’ve done anything like this,” Nelson said, adding he’s doing it because “it’s the right thing to do.” Nelson said that the response he’s gotten has been mostly supportive, but “there’ve been a few haters.”

Julie Sicileo, a part time Forest Lake resident (she also resides in Long Beach, California, but returned to Forest Lake in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic) saw Nelson on the roundabout holding his sign on Monday. She approached him and asked if she could join him the next day.

-Jonathan Young, managing editor of ABC Newspapers, contributed to this story.

Hannah Davis is the Area Editor at the Forest Lake Times. You can contact her at hannah.davis@ecm-inc.com or (763)233-0709

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