At least 8 of 10 arrested for rioting in Fargo were from metro area

Teddy Mata

FARGO — Violence and property damage that capped a day of largely peaceful protests in Fargo on Saturday, May 30, may have been an "organized riot" instigated by agitators from out of town, according to officials who spoke at a news conference in Fargo Sunday morning.

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum said that in talking with law enforcement officers who spent the night quelling rioting it was clear to the officers that some who took part in Saturday's event were not there to promote progress, but instead came to the area "for violence and vandalism."

Saturday's rioting resulted in 10 people arrested and booked into jail on suspicion of misdemeanor charges of inciting a riot and felony charges of preventing arrest, according to Fargo police, who worked on verifying those arrested on Sunday.

One of the 10 arrested was listed as being from out of town, while another had no permanent address. The out-of-town resident from Fresno, Calif., was also arrested on a drug charge and carrying a concealed weapon.

Police Chief Dave Todd echoed Burgum's remarks during the news conference regarding the motivations of some protesters.


Todd said information gained by undercover officers who mingled with protesters combined with other intelligence led authorities to conclude that some demonstrators at Saturday's event were there primarily to "loot and burn."

Todd said four police officers were injured during clashes with protesters, including two officers who suffered concussions from being hit with objects and two officers who suffered from heat exhaustion.

Police also reported in a release later Sunday that eight patrol squad cars were damaged, ranging from broken windows, dented hoods and broken mirrors.

Todd said police are reviewing footage from city surveillance cameras and additional arrests may be possible.

Police also said in the release that 22 agencies assisted them in the situation, including the North Dakota Highway Patrol, Cass County Sheriff's Department, Moorhead police, Clay County Sheriff's Department and officers from as far away as Pembina in far northeast North Dakota and Mandan's police department.

Fargo's department started the day off with 65 officers on duty, with an "all department callback" sent out at 1 p.m.

In another statement released by police, they said that a call came in at 8:25 p.m. on Saturday night regarding four males carrying assault rifles, who told Cass County deputies that they were headed to the protest site to protect businesses. Deputies explained that it was not a good idea and the four men decided to leave. No arrests in that incident were made, police said.

According to an online list created by the Cass County Jail, the 10 people were being held in the jail Sunday morning on suspicion of inciting a riot and felony preventing arrest were:


  • Kylee Angelise-Hope Davidson, 21, Fargo
  • Martin Edward Jackson, 34, West Fargo
  • Adam Christopher Maack, 31, Fargo
  • Kimberly Aulakh, 35, Fargo
  • Negasi Gebrehiwot Berhe, 23, Fargo
  • Natascha May Gripentrog, 29, West Fargo
  • Errick Steven Toa, 33, Fargo
  • Gary Zende, 69, Fargo
  • Teddy Anthony Mata, 26, Fresno, Calif., who was also arrested for carrying a concealed weapon and possessing a controlled drug.
  • Godana Hajmadi, 31, no permanent address. He has been bailed out.

Much of the demonstrating that occurred Saturday in Fargo was peaceful as crowds marched to show their anger and frustration over the death of George Floyd, who died while being arrested by Minneapolis police on May 25.
Rally organizers said the event they planned came to an end about 6 p.m. Saturday, around the time Fargo police began warning demonstrators the event had become unlawful and authorities would take steps to shut it down.

Todd said officers attempted several times to disengage from protesters as a way to disarm tensions, but each time demonstrators pressed forward aggressively, eventually starting to throw bottles of water and other objects at officers.

Todd said officers became trapped in a vehicle when protesters surrounded it and began pounding on its windows and it was at that point a decision was made to push increasingly hostile protesters out of the downtown area.

About 8:10 p.m., officers began pushing the crowd eastward down First Avenue North and protesters reacted by throwing rocks and other objects.

Authorities fired rounds from pepperball guns and dispensed tear gas as demonstrators created a makeshift barrier using dumpsters from a nearby business.

Around the same time, protesters began smashing windows of businesses, including JL Beers, the Hotel Donaldson and Gate City Bank.

Todd said demonstrators were able to get inside JL Beers and the bank, but no money was taken.

He said prior to the start of the rioting a number of individuals who were involved in the demonstrations attempted to keep people calm and he said those actions may have prevented some officers from being harmed.


Todd said those who tried to keep the event from turning violent have his gratitude.

According to Todd, there were reports of protesters getting hurt, including one who suffered a gash to their arm and another who may have been shot in the leg.

Todd said Sunday morning that he hadn't been able to confirm whether someone was shot, or what the circumstances may have been.

Forum reporter Barry Amundson contributed to this report

I'm a reporter and a photographer and sometimes I create videos to go with my stories.

I graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead and in my time with The Forum I have covered a number of beats, from cops and courts to business and education.

I've also written about UFOs, ghosts, dinosaur bones and the planet Pluto.

You may reach me by phone at 701-241-5555, or by email at
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