Gov. Tim Walz announced Thursday afternoon that he has signed an executive order activating the Minnesota National Guard to help respond to the riots in Minneapolis.
Wednesday night’s riots were marked by widespread looting, vandalism, and arson, leaving portions of south Minneapolis in ruins. In one case, a construction site being developed for low-income housing was set ablaze early Thursday morning and collapsed into the street below it as rioters cheered.
Exclusive scenes of the several story construction site when it collapsed at 2AM in South Minneapolis.
The site was being developed for low income housing.
Rioters cheered as it fell.#LakeStreet #GeorgeFloydprotest #minneapolisriots pic.twitter.com/FQUI4c5ZB4
— Alpha News MN (@AlphaNewsMN) May 28, 2020
The riots began Tuesday evening in response to the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died Monday night after a Minneapolis police officer was recorded pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck for several minutes while Floyd repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe.
Walz announced that he has signed an order activating the National Guard and approximately 200 troopers with the Minnesota State Patrol to assist with the situation.
“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,” Walz said in a press release.
The executive order also declares a peacetime emergency, which activates the State Emergency Operations Center to help coordinate the state’s response.
“We are ready and prepared to answer the Governor’s request. We are currently in the process of assigning and preparing units to respond,” said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen in a statement. Some units will reportedly be ready to assist as early as Thursday night.
"We are ready and prepared to answer the Governor's request. We are currently in process of assigning and preparing units to respond," said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen.
— MN National Guard (@MNNationalGuard) May 28, 2020
“As Governor, I will always defend the right to protest,” Walz concluded. “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.”
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of The Minnesota Sun and The Ohio Star. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Minnesota Rioters” by Lorie Shaull. CC BY-SA 2.0.