Minnesota National Guard Deploying 1700 Troops to Twin Cities
St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - The situation is incredibly dangerous.
That's how Governor Tim Walz opened an early morning news conference as fires burned in Minneapolis and protests continue in the aftermath of the death of a Minneapolis man on Monday.
Walz urged Minnesotans to return to their homes as roaming groups of people challenged law enforcement officers, including firing on them as they worked to restore order near the 5th precinct Minneapolis Police headquarters late Friday night. The violence continued even after the governor issued a curfew for both Minneapolis and St. Paul, which was followed by similar orders in surrounding suburbs Friday afternoon.
The governor says the police and National Guard force activated in response to the protests and rioting that followed the death of George Floyd is three times the size of the force that was deployed during the riots that occurred in the late 1960s. Walz stated this is not about George Floyd's death, instead "this is chaos."
Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington says law enforcement and National Guard soldiers have encountered entrenched groups of rioters and are running into resistance that includes gunfire directed at government forces. As of 2 AM, no serious injuries have been reported.
Governor Walz and other state officials alluded to outside groups converging on Minnesota to disrupt civil society. Without providing specific information, he described them as both "professional and sophisticated" in their response to what the governor described as the largest deployment of law enforcement forces in Minnesota history.
Early Saturday, it was announced that the Pentagon had authorized the deployment of U.S. troops to assist in restoring the peace in the Twin Cities. At the time of the governor's news conference, the actual deployment of those troops was still pending.