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More National Guard members to be called up after 4th night of Minneapolis unrest

"There's simply more of them than us," Gov. Walz acknowledged in an early morning news conference.

MINNEAPOLIS —

  • Gov. Walz on law enforcement numbers: "It’s not enough," additional Nat'l Guard called up for Saturday  
  • Unrest moves to the MPD 5th Precinct building in Minneapolis
  • Curfews ordered in Minneapolis, St. Paul, other communities
  • Governor promises to restore order after night of rioting in Minneapolis, St. Paul
  • Minnesota National Guard steps in to help
  • CNN crew arrested and released in Minneapolis

WATCH LIVE: Gov. Walz speaks on the state’s plan to keep Minnesotans safe after a fourth night of rioting in Minneapolis. https://www.kare11.com/article/news/local/george-floyd/george-floyd-protests-minneapolis-st-paul-day-four/89-6e2d7a1d-97e0-4c3e-b3d9-162f2112271d

Posted by KARE 11 on Saturday, May 30, 2020

CURFEW ORDERS:

Saturday, May 30

1:30 a.m.

In an early morning press conference, Gov. Tim Walz addressed the fourth night of unrest in the city of Minneapolis following the death of George Floyd.

"You need to go home," the governor said to people involved in the unrest. "Our neighbors are afraid."

The governor said the current National Guard response is the largest civilian deployment in the state's history, but he acknowledged the size of Friday's response wasn't enough.

"(We) cannot arrest people when we're trying to hold ground because of the sheer size, the dynamics and the wanton violence," Walz said. "I will take responsibility for underestimating the wanton destruction and the size of this crowd."

Walz said the priority is to protect the lives of Minnesotans, protect property, and try to restore order on the streets.

"What we see tonight will replicate tomorrow unless we change something in what we're doing," Walz said. "Minnesotans deserve a plan ... we need to assess that."

That plan will include calling up an additional 1,000 members of the National Guard. Walz said he is in touch with neighboring states and the federal government as well.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey also spoke at the press conference.

"Minneapolis, I know you are reeling," Frey said. "We as a city are so much more than this. We as a city can be so much better than this. There is no honor in burning down your city. There is no pride in looting local businesses that have become institutions of a neighborhood."

"If you care about your community, you got to put this to an end. It needs to stop," Frey said. "I know in my heart we can do it because I know in my heart that Minneapolis is everything we believe it to be."

Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said around 50 people were arrested in the Lake St. and Nicollet area near the Minneapolis PD 5th Precinct on Friday night. He said the "level of resistance has increased exponentially," including having officers shot at, with some officers injured, though none seriously.

As for the response Friday, Harrington said there was a clear mission: "maintain order and stop lawless behavior." But Harrington said by 8 p.m., leaders saw they were going to have to operate on multiple different fronts of criminal behavior. 

Harrington said he's requesting additional officers and National Guard resources to deal with what he termed "an entrenched group of rioters."

"We are committed to restoring order," Harrington said, while also anticipating an even larger presence on Saturday. "We are getting ready for one of the largest crowds we have ever heard."

Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen of the National Guard said once they activate additional soldiers for support, he expects a total of 1,700 Minnesota National Guard members will be deployed.

Maj. Gen. Jensen also said while he was not consulted about the Pentagon putting Army Military Police on standby, he believes it is a "prudent move."

Gov. Walz was asked why the National Guard was not seen immediately during the unrest Friday night.

"There's simply more of them than us," Walz said. "We are out there, I can assure you ... we are prioritizing those critical assets, and I know the heartbreak that brings to people, when the business that you fight your life for ... burns down, that seems like a pretty damn critical asset to you. We're protecting the federal reserve, we're protecting those infrastructure downtown, we're protecting power stations ... We have to prioritize, we have to triage, it's a horrible predicament."

Walz said he wasn't surprised that people ignored the curfew orders, but he was disappointed.

Maj. Gen. Jensen said, despite reports, the National Guard never left Minneapolis on Friday night, but reorganized at one point, saying "there came a point this evening where the recommendation from the police officers that they were in direct support of, were to leave the area." After reorganizing, the force was redirected.

Gov. Walz couldn't directly confirm reports of outside agitators being involved in the Minnesota unrest, but said, "I think it's very clear by now when you have a situation like this across the country, elements that want to do that are certainly gathering. And they are professionals ... a pretty sophisticated attempt to cause problems."

When asked why it took hours to enforce the curfew, Walz said, "there are not enough law enforcement. This is the largest concentration of law enforcement in the history of Minnesota. And it’s not enough.”

Walz said the state needs to be prepared for the unrest to continue past the weekend.

"I need those legitimate folks who are grieving to take this back for the right reason," Walz said. "Why are we talking about anarchists who are burning down damn buildings that were businesses that were built up by our businesses and black communities, instead of talking about, we had a horrific situation where a police officer ... was charged for the death of a black man. We've lost that in there. And I need the public - I need them to rise up, I need to know they're madder than hell, but we need to stop this piece first to get the other."

12:40 a.m.

Governor Tim Walz is expected to hold a press conference around 1:30 Saturday morning. KARE 11 will broadcast and stream the press conference live.

12:10 a.m.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety is reporting shots were being fired at law enforcement officers near the 5th Precinct. In a social media post, DPS said no troopers or officers were injured.

DPS also said officers had "arrested several people who ignored multiple dispersal orders."

In addition, the Associated Press is reporting that the Pentagon has taken the "rare step of putting military police on alert to go to embattled Minneapolis.

RELATED: Pentagon puts military police on alert to go to Minneapolis

Governor Tim Walz tweeted around 12:30 a.m. asking people involved in the unrest to go home.

"Minnesotans, please go home. It’s time to restore peace on our streets and in our neighborhoods. The situation has become dangerous for Minnesotans and first responders," Walz tweeted.

In addition, a crowd of people were seen once again walking along Interstate 35W near Washington Avenue in downtown Minneapolis, blocking traffic around 12:30 a.m.

12:00 a.m.

In a tweet at midnight, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said, "A significant increase in personnel is being deployed to the 5th Precinct to help control the fire and provide support to our neighborhood." He also noted that more resources were being sent downtown.

In a separate social post, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety warned people to leave the area of the 5th Precinct or face arrest.

Friday, May 29

11:40 p.m.

A large group of state troopers arrived near the 5th Precinct building in Minneapolis just before midnight on Friday night.

KARE 11's Kent Erdahl reported the crowd began running away as officers entered the area, with announcements that the crowd was in violation of the city curfew.  He also witnessed rubber bullets and tear gas as officers attempted to disperse the crowd.

The Minnesota Dept. of Public Safety tweeted that "350 troopers and officers are on the ground near the Fifth Precinct in Minneapolis to clear the area and enforce the curfew."

Governor Walz also issued a tweet, saying: "The Minnesota National Guard, State Patrol, and local police are on the ground responding to incidents in Mpls-St. Paul. I urge residents to comply with 8pm curfew and go home immediately. Law enforcement needs to respond to emergencies, restore order, and keep Minnesotans safe."

"This is a real lack of leadership, the fact we are at this again right now. That we waited until a bank was destroyed and a number of other buildings," Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka (R-Nisswa) said in a live phone call to KARE 11. "It's just mind-boggling."

Gazelka said he's reached out to the White House to ask the federal government to intervene.

The Minnesota National Guard also put out a short statement on Twitter, saying: "The (Minnesota National Guard) maintains a presence in the Twin Cities, working alongside civil authorities."

Minneapolis Assistant Fire Chief Bryan Tyner told KARE 11 that he did not have an exact count on the number of fires on Friday night, but estimated it was "less than last night but still pretty steady."

Max Nesterak of the Minnesota Reformer told KARE 11 that the gas station fire reported at Lake Street and Park Avenue appeared to be extinguished just before midnight, and said the National Guard had also arrived on the scene.

In contrast to the unrest near the 5th Precinct, the situation several blocks away at the scene of George Floyd's death at 38th and Chicago was peaceful, with many flowers and notes left in his memory.

11:15 p.m.

The city of Minneapolis tweeted late Friday warning people to avoid the area of a gas station at Lake Street and Park Avenue that is on fire.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey tweeted after 11 p.m. to say the National Guard and Department of Public Safety are in charge of the response.

"For our (firefighters) to respond, the area of the fire must be secure so they can focus on fighting the fire without risking their own safety," Frey tweeted. "We are working with the State National Guard & MN DPS – who control Incident Command tonight – to provide support in South."

The Minneapolis Fire Department also tweeted late Friday that their response times were being delayed due to the unrest.

"Minneapolis Fire continues to respond to fires across the City," the tweet read. "Responses may be delayed until the scene can be secured."

The U.S. Post Office building at E 31st Street and 1st Avenue South and the nearby Hibachi Buffet were also among the buildings on fire, according to a live report by KARE 11's Deevon Rahming.

Minneapolis City Council Member Alondra Cano tweeted that she spoke to a staff member at the National Guard, who said guard members are in the city, but were not initially in the area of the primary unrest near the MPD 5th Precinct.

"Luckily, guard members are still in Minneapolis (roughly 500 of them) but sadly for us, all were taken out of Lake Street before the curfew started," Cano tweeted around 11 p.m. 

Cano said she was receiving reports that business owners were returning to their shops on Lake Street to protect them.

"This is their protective response to the absence of National Guard members on Lake Street," Cano tweeted.

10:15 p.m.

Unrest moved to the Minneapolis Police Department 5th Precinct building on Friday night, near E 31st St and Nicollet Avenue.

KARE 11 reporter Deevon Rahming's live report showed a large crowd outside the precinct and neighboring buildings, including a U.S. Post Office building. Rahming reported witnessing break-ins at the post office, with people taking packages out of the building, as well as break-ins at the Stop N Shop convenience store nearby.

Rahming said the crowd at the 5th Precinct originated more than 20 blocks away at the 3rd Precinct building that had been set on fire the night before. 

"If the governor and the mayor are not going to take care of this problem, people will. People will uprise over this," said a man who claimed to own a shopping center in the midst of the unrest near the 5th Precinct, who stopped to speak to KARE 11 during a live report.

KARE 11's live coverage showed people breaking into a Wells Fargo Bank at 31st and Nicollet, and a portion of the building was on fire.

Nearby, looters were seen breaking into a Kmart store a few blocks from the 5th Precinct.

Minneapolis City Council member Alondra Cano tweeted that a gas station was on fire in the area and that firefighters were unable to get to it safely because of the crowd. Cano's tweet also claimed the National Guard had been pulled from the area, however state officials told KARE 11 that is not the case.

Council member Jeremiah Ellison also posted to Twitter, saying he would be going to check on his neighborhood.

"I did not want to defy curfew," Ellison tweeted. "But I also do not understand the plan and no one can explain it to me I will be out assessing the damage, taking note of folks’ needs, and supporting my neighbors as best I can."

Ellison later added, "Communication among officials is not fluid, to say the least. I am trying to get answers re: national guard/MPD. MFD is over north successfully putting out fires."

In downtown Minneapolis, KARE 11's Danny Spewak said he witnessed people on I-35W jumping into the back of a moving UPS truck, where they started taking packages inside.

9:30 p.m.

KARE 11 reporter Danny Spewak said people were once again making their way onto I-35W in downtown Minneapolis around 9:30 p.m., stopping southbound traffic, as demonstrations continued more than 90 minutes after the city-wide curfew went into effect. Spewak said some drivers were turning around and driving in the opposite direction in order to leave the area. Traffic was later blocked in both directions.

Near the MPD 3rd Precinct building, KARE 11's Kent Erdahl said protesters appeared to be coming and going freely from the precinct building, with one group reaching the roof of the building

KARE 11 photojournalist Ben Garvin also reported hearing the sounds of gunshots near one of the closed stores across the street from the precinct.

Reporter Matt Sepic from MPR News said a large crowd had also gathered near the Minneapolis Police 5th Precinct location at 31st Street and 1st Avenue, where officers were standing guard on top of the building.

MPR reporter Tim Nelson tweeted video of cars on fire and reported looting happening near Park Avenue and Lake Street, with some of the car fires starting along residential blocks. Nelson said he did not see any law enforcement presence in the area.

8 p.m.

Curfew orders took effect at 8 p.m. in Minneapolis, St. Paul and several other metro area communities, as protests and memorials for George Floyd continued into a fourth night.

Tensions were high again near the Minneapolis Police Department's Third Precinct where a large crowd had gathered, one night after the precinct building was set on fire.

KARE 11 photojournalist Ben Garvin shared video from the scene showing a visible cloud of smoke from tear gas in the area once again, and reported that people had once again reached the building, with no visible officer presence nearby.

"Officers deployed a steady stream of tear gas that blew right in our direction," KARE 11 reporter Kent Erdahl said. "We walked back a bit to collect ourselves after this and that’s when officers fell back and pushed West down Lake Street. Ever since it has been pretty quiet near the 3rd (precinct)."

Erdahl reported that law enforcement was making periodic announcements a few blocks away from the precinct about the curfew order.

In downtown Minneapolis, KARE 11 reporter Danny Spewak said many people were still walking through the area around 8:30 p.m., with no police enforcement of the curfew. 

Firefighters were battling a fire at a building on the 900 block of West Broadway in Minneapolis around 8:30 p.m., but it was not immediately clear if the fire was related to the unrest in the city.

Another fire was spotted in a building about a block from the MPD Third Precinct around 9 p.m.

7 p.m.

Hundreds have gathered peacefully near the scene of George Floyd's death at the intersection of 38th and Chicago in Minneapolis.

One person in attendance described the gathering's location to KARE 11 as a “healing space.”  

The Minneapolis NAACP also posted to Twitter encouraging community members to spread the word about the upcoming curfews.

"We are organizing car rides starting ... to offer rides home to young protestors and to let them know that the curfew is in place," the NAACP tweeted.

6 p.m.

A protest march moved onto I-35W in Minneapolis, with hundreds of people on the freeway at one point, stopping traffic and forcing drivers to detour onto other routes.

MnDOT says I-35W was closed to traffic briefly at Stinson Boulevard. Marchers were later seen exiting the freeway at Washington Avenue.

5:55 p.m.

The Minnesota National Guard announced in a series of tweets that it would "continue supporting several missions" on Friday night, including security along Lake Street in Minneapolis, as well as providing security for the Minneapolis Fire Department and around the State Capitol.

"As citizens in Minneapolis and St Paul observe a temporary curfew this evening, the (National Guard) will be out helping to restore order and provide safety in the community. Rest assured, we are standing watch," the National Guard tweeted.

5:15 p.m.

A large crowd of people joined a march through the streets of Minneapolis on Friday evening. 

Many were chanting George Floyd's name and "no justice, no peace" as the group crossed over the Hennepin Avenue Bridge.

4:50 p.m.

The St. Paul Fire Department said it responded to 295 calls for service over the past 24 hours as riots ensued throughout the Twin Cities.

In a press release, SPFD said 169 were EMS calls, and 126 were fire calls, with 55 actual working fires.

According to a tweet from the department, a majority of fires were in commercial buildings and responding officials "endured rocks and bottles being thrown at them." St. Paul fire added that the St. Paul Police Department provided them safety.

The thread continued, "We are grateful for the support of our public safety partners and the mutual aid support we have received. The department is coordinating with multiple agencies to insure the safety of all our residents and visitors."

The department said nearly 200 firefighters were deployed Thursday night, in addition to help for neighboring communities.

4:15 p.m.

On Friday afternoon, Governor Tim Walz, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, and St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter issued city-wide curfews on Friday and Saturday nights in both Minneapolis and St. Paul.

The curfew begins at 8 p.m. and extends to 6 a.m. on both nights. People will not be allowed to travel on any public streets or in public places in response to Thursday night's riots.

The state's order exempts people going to work, or returning home from work, as well as first responders, people seeking emergency care, people fleeing danger, the homeless, and journalists.

The state order also allows mayors from other cities across the state to issue their own curfews.

“It’s time to rebuild our community and that starts with safety in our streets,” Gov. Walz said in a statement. “Thousands of Minnesotans have expressed their grief and frustration in a peaceful manner. But the unlawful and dangerous actions of others, under the cover of darkness, has caused irreversible pain and damage to our community. This behavior has compromised the safety of bystanders, businesses, lawful demonstrators, and first responders. Now, we come together to restore the peace.”

Later in the evening, the city of Roseville, city of Bloomington, Anoka County and Dakota County also issued similar curfews for their communities.

3 p.m.

Peaceful protesters and mourners gathered outside Cup Foods near 38th Street and Chicago Avenue Friday morning and into the afternoon as emotions remained high following the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody.

The setting is where a memorial has been set for Floyd and the location where bystander video showed a Minneapolis police officer's knee on Floyd's neck while Floyd was pleading "I can't breathe."

On Friday afternoon, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced charges against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was identified in the criminal complaint as the officer with his knee on Floyd's neck.

Freeman said Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, but they're continuing to survey the evidence and that additional charges could still come.

"This is by far the fastest we've ever charged a police officer," Freeman said.

For some, the charges announced provide some sense of appeasement that justice is being served following Floyd's death.

"I think it's great that he's been charged," said one person outside of Cup Foods in Minneapolis. "It's finally come to a realization to the people that finally justice has been served for the most craziest reasons, and what happened to George Floyd should never have happened."

Governor Tim Walz held a news conference at 10:30 a.m. Friday after another night of violence and looting in Minneapolis and St. Paul, as protests over the death of George Floyd devolved into riots.

Walz said he received a call from State Sen. Patricia Torres Ray Thursday that District 63 was burning, and there were no police officers or Minnesota National Guard troops to help.

“That is an abject failure that cannot happen," Walz said. "We must restore that order.”

RELATED: Derek Chauvin charged with 3rd degree murder, manslaughter in death of George Floyd

Thursday night, fires continued to rage across both Minneapolis and St. Paul. Minneapolis Police were forced to evacuate the building housing the Third Precinct after a fire started around 10:30 p.m. Thursday night. 

Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Mark Harrington said during a press conference that national guard troops were called in to help, but they did not receive a “specific mission” to help clear the streets until midnight, on a call with the mayor. Harrington said Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey informed them they had "no more resources" and they were not able to meet public safety needs on Lake Street.

"When the Third Precinct was abandoned, it seemed that that was the time to move," Gov. Walz said.

They then had to get a plan together, Harrington said. By the time they brought state patrol, Minnesota National Guard, and other assisting crews to Lake Street, he said it was 3 a.m. Harrington said some people were arrested at the time and for other looting incidents throughout the day, but he didn't have exact numbers. He said most people left peacefully.

Harrington said the people who were out at that hour were not the people of Minneapolis “who are still having their guts ripped out about the Floyd murder.”

“I don’t want to prejudice this,” he said regarding using the term “murder.” “I’m just calling it like I see it.”

“I can tell you that no one could have heard Mr. Floyd’s voice in the chaos of the screaming and the shouting and the fires at 1 o’clock in the morning on Lake Street,” he said. “My job is to make sure the community is safe and the team is ready and prepared to keep it safe.”

Harrington said his team, including the national guard, state troopers and DNR, is confident that they can make a plan to keep people safe Friday night while protecting First Amendment rights to protest.

“We will create a plan that will keep the peace, maintain the peace, and prevent further lawless behavior in the city of Minneapolis, the city of St. Paul and surrounding suburbs,” he said.

The governor acknowledged that the "tools" needed to restore order, including the Minnesota National Guard, are "the very same tools that have led to that grief and pain."

Those national guard troops are armed, officials confirmed Friday, and maintain the right to defend themselves, though they would not comment further on the boundaries around their use of force.

"I’m asking you to help us. Help us use a humane way to get the streets to a place where we can restore the justice," he said. "So those who are demanding justice can be heard. Not those who throw fire bombs into businesses."

RELATED: MN National Guard activates more than 500 soldiers

Early Friday morning, Frey held a press conference to address the burning of the Third Precinct Police Station in south Minneapolis. He reiterated his concern for the citizens of his city, saying rioting posed an imminent threat to the safety of the officers and staffers within MPD's Third Precinct, forcing him to make the decision to evacuate the compound.

“Symbolism of a building cannot outweigh the importance of life or the public,” Frey said. “We could not risk serious injury to anyone … brick and mortar is not as important as life.”

RELATED: Twitter tags Trump's 'When the looting starts, the shooting starts' tweet as 'glorifying violence'

A CNN news crew was arrested on live TV Friday morning while reporting on the continued unrest in Minneapolis. Officers in riot gear were seen pushing the reporter and his two crews members, as the reporter told them they would move. As one officer held the reporters arm, another informed him he was under arrest. The network reports that Gov. Tim Walz intervened, and quoted him as saying the arrests were "totally unacceptable," and that he wanted the media to cover the developing situation here. 

RELATED: CNN news crew arrested in Minneapolis as police clash with protesters