Minnesota Gov. activates over 500 National Guard soldiers as police precincts reportedly burned to the ground

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Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz activated the National Guard following days of violent protests and looting in the wake of George Floyd’s death under police custody.

The Democratic lawmaker called for National Guard troops “to help protect Minnesotans’ safety and maintain peace in the wake of George Floyd’s death,” signing an executive order Thursday as another night of angry demonstrations in Minneapolis turned violent with protesters looting stores and burning down businesses and police stations.


(Source: KMSP)

“While many Minnesotans are taking extensive safety precautions while exercising their right to protest, the demonstration last night became incredibly unsafe for all involved,” Walz said in his announcement Thursday.

“The purpose of the National Guard is to protect people, to protect people safely demonstrating, and to protect small business owners.”

The city descended into chaos as protests escalated over the death of Floyd, a 46-year-old unarmed black man, while in police custody. Outrage and anger followed his death after video showed how he pleaded multiple times that he could not breathe as a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, knelt on his neck during an arrest on Monday. The victim died and all four officers involved in the arrest were fired on Tuesday.

The incident set off ongoing protests, and rioters trashed their own city, looting and setting fires to businesses like Target, Wendy’s, Walmart and AutoZone. Thursday’s unrest spilled over to police stations as reports that multiple Minneapolis precincts were abandoned by officers as they were vandalized and set afire.

The city warned of the dangers of gas lines causing explosions in the wake of the fires, urging people to get to safety.

In his announcement Thursday, the governor admitted that “the anger and grief of this moment is unbearable,” vowing he will “always defend the right to protest.”

“People deserve to be seen,” he said. “People deserve to be heard. People deserve to be safe.”

But safety was far from the case as police stations were set ablaze and no one was on the scene to stop the destruction.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey gave an emotional plea for peace amid the rioting as disturbing video footage continued to be shared on social media. Added to the shocking images, President Donald Trump commented on the unrest and Twitter effectively blocked part of his two-part tweet that read, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

Twitter’s flag noted that the “Tweet violated Twitter Rules about glorifying violence.”

The call by Minnesota’s governor for the National Guard and other assistance comes as the state was already under a state of emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Following his activation of the Guard, Walz called for changes in the wake of Floyd’s death.

“It is time to rebuild,” he said. “Rebuild the city, rebuild our justice system and rebuild the relationship between law enforcement and those they’re charged to protect.”

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Frieda Powers

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