Manufacturing company leaving Minneapolis because it ‘didn’t protect our people’


A manufacturing company decided to leave Minneapolis because it says the city “didn’t protect our people” during the protests over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in Minneapolis police custody on Memorial Day.

Kris Wyrobek, the president and owner of 7-Sigma, told the Star Tribune that he can’t trust public officials who let his plant burn in the riots. The company has operated out of Minneapolis since 1987, and its move will cost the city about 50 jobs. 

“They don’t care about my business,” Wyrobek said. “They didn’t protect our people. We were all on our own.”

On the first day of the protests in Minneapolis, Wyrobek said he released his employees at 7 p.m., four hours early, to ensure their safety. He said he was informed the next-door Midtown Corner affordable housing apartment was on fire by a production supervisor and a maintenance worker who live nearby.

7-Sigma leads in the production of precision rollers used in printing systems that generate bank statements and social security checks. 

The city’s initial survey of damage following the protests found 1,000 commercial locations were damaged, with 52 completely destroyed and 30 others severely damaged, according to the Star Tribune.

Mayor Jacob Frey said Monday that he did not know of 7-Sigma’s decision to move. Several business owners have claimed the city did not do enough to protect them.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) called the city’s initial response to the riots an “abject failure” and activated the National Guard which was deployed into the city just before the third night of protests, at the request of Frey.

“This was a Guard-sized crisis and demanded a Guard-sized response,” Frey said, according to the newspaper. “And once we had the full presence of the National Guard — which by the way hasn’t been deployed since World War II — there was a significantly different result.”

The mayor announced on Monday the formation of Minneapolis Forward: Community Now Coalition to assist in rebuilding the community.

Business owners and insurance experts predict the cost of the damage will reach beyond $500 million, making it the second most expensive civil disturbance in the U.S., behind the 1992 protests in Los Angeles, which would have cost $1.4 billion today after inflation, according to the newspaper. 

Protests erupted in Minneapolis and across the country after Floyd died last month while he was detained by Minneapolis police. Video footage showed a former officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck for close to nine minutes while Floyd said he couldn’t breathe and became unresponsive.

That officer and three others on scene have been fired and were charged after the city experienced days of protests. 

–This report was updated on June 10 at 6:25 a.m.

Tags 7-Sigma George Floyd George Floyd death George Floyd protests Minneapolis Minneapolis protests Minnesota Protests riots Tim Walz
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