Walz says violence not about Floyd death, fully mobilizes National Guard

Updated: May 30, 2020 10:57 AM

Gov. Tim Walz says violence in Minneapolis on Friday night was a "mockery of pretending this is about George Floyd's death" and is fully mobilizing the Minnesota National Guard for the first time in state history.

Walz said their best estimate is that about 80% of the people who were on the streets Friday night were not Minnesotans.  Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said the people who were out Friday night were rioters who "were simply bent on destruction of property" and hurting people.

There were no reports of serious injuries. 

"The people that are doing this are not Minneapolis residents. They are coming in largely from outside of the city, from outside of the region, to prey on everything we have built over the last several decades," Mayor Jacob Frey said.

Frey said people who stay out after curfew are helping provide cover to those who are trying to harm the city. Walz said a curfew will be in place again Saturday night and said it will be a "dangerous situation" on the streets.

Harrington said they are working to trace the background of the rioters to determine if it is organized crime or an organized cell of terror.

The governor asked people to understand that what began as legitimate protests earlier in the week were taken over by people taking advantage of the situation for other reasons. Harrington said firefighters, emergency responders, and law enforcement came under attack from crowds of thousands of people who fled into residential areas when confronted.

The National Guard worked to escort Minneapolis Fire Department teams to put out fires around the city, including at a post office and a bank.  Fires were also set at small businesses and in residential streets.

Frey said they could not place a police officer at every business because it would be one officer against 100 rioters.

Major General Jon A. Jensen, who heads the Minnesota National Guard, said it was not immediately known how many Guard members would be mobilized on Saturday night, but said it would be at least 2,400, which would be 1,700 more than who were deployed Friday night. Jensen also said they are requesting national-level resources to come to the state.

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