BREAKING- Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey declared a state of emergency as protests/riots erupted and a police station and other buildings were vandalized, looted and burned in the city where an African American man, George Floyd died in police custody earlier in the week.
Gov. Tim Walz signed Executive Order 20-65 on Thursday, activating the Guard to help protect Minnesotans and maintain peace. A release from Walz’s office says local leaders have requested National Guard resources after extensive damage during protests the past two days.
The Guard confirmed more than 500 soldiers will respond to St. Paul, Minneapolis and surrounding communities.
We have activated more than 500 soldiers to St. Paul, Minneapolis and surrounding communities. Our mission is to protect life, preserve property and the right to peacefully demonstrate. A key objective is to ensure fire departments are able to respond to calls.
— MN National Guard (@MNNationalGuard) May 29, 2020
“It is time to rebuild. Rebuild the city, rebuild our justice system, and rebuild the relationship between law enforcement and those they’re charged to protect. George Floyd’s death should lead to justice and systemic change, not more death and destruction. As George Floyd’s family has said, ‘Floyd would not want people to get hurt. He lived his life protecting people.’ Let’s come together to rebuild, remember, and seek justice for George Floyd,” said Governor Walz.
“The anger and grief of this moment is unbearable. People deserve to be seen. People deserve to be heard. People deserve to be safe,” said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan. “While many Minnesotans are taking extensive safety precautions while exercising their right to protest, the demonstration last night became incredibly unsafe for all involved. The purpose of the National Guard is to protect people, to protect people safely demonstrating, and to protect small business owners.”
“As Governor, I will always defend the right to protest,” Governor Walz continued. “It is how we express pain, process tragedy, and create change. That is why I am answering our local leaders’ request for Minnesota National Guard assistance to protect peaceful demonstrators, neighbors, and small businesses in Minnesota.”
The National Guard Adjutant General will work with local government agencies to provide personnel, equipment, and facilities needed to respond to and recover from this emergency.
Additionally, the Minnesota State Patrol will assist in public safety efforts for the next several days. Approximately 200 troopers will work with state, county, and local community and public safety partners. State Patrol helicopters and fixed wind aircraft will also be available to assist law enforcement officers on the ground.
This Executive Order also declares a peacetime emergency, which activates the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) to help coordinate the state’s response. As the SEOC is already activated due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it will concurrently support the COVID-19 response and the City of Minneapolis and surrounding communities during this situation.
On May 25, 2020, George Floyd died while in custody of the Minneapolis Police Department.
The Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard also released a message Thursday night on the National Guard’s Facebook page saying, in part, “The events in our community over the last few days have been deeply troubling and I know many of us are frustrated and angry. I share your outrage and concern.”
You can read the full post below.
To the Soldiers and Airmen of the Minnesota National Guard,
The events in our community over the last few days have been deeply troubling and I know many of us are frustrated and angry. I share your outrage and concern.
To those in our organization who feel unseen, I want to re-iterate my commitment to creating an organization that values every person’s unique background and experience. I truly believe diversity makes us stronger and I welcome continued conversation about how we can do a better job of fostering a more inclusive environment. The State Equal Employment Office stands ready to assist service members with addressing concerns around discriminant behavior and the overall inclusivity of the force.
For those who wish to express their first amendment right to assemble, I urge you to do so safely and peacefully. Please be aware of your surroundings and be mindful of your personal security, as well as the security of those around you. The last thing we want to do is add to the violence in a community that is already hurting.
If you are out in the community engaged in demonstrations, it is important that you do so as a private citizen and not a representative of the Minnesota National Guard. You should not be in uniform, or in any way identifying yourself as a member of the Minnesota National Guard.
The Minnesota National Guard is being called upon to assist the city of Minneapolis to protect human life and property and to ensure citizens are able to demonstrate safely. We train for this mission and we have an opportunity to come into this terrible situation and provide a calm, professional response for our fellow Minnesotans. I’m proud of the work we do and the community we represent.
— MG Jon Jensen, The Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard
The officer has been arrested but I predict that the riots will continue- just my opinion…
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