MN Government Updates 05.29

PRESS CONFERENCE 9:00 a.m. Saturday, May 30, 2020

Governor Tim Walz

  • We spoke at 2:30 am and providing an update and highly dangerous and rapidly evolving situation with people bent on destroying property with no regard for safety of Minnesotans
  • Thank you to Minnesotans who abided by curfew. Thank you to responders.
  • Highly evolved and tightly controlled group of people adjusting their tactics
  • Protection of citizen and property is top priority – maintaining order on street
  • The tactics and approach we’ve taken have evolved and need to evolve with legitimate sensitivity with murder of George Floyd. By Thursday, that was gone. Last night was a mockery of pretending this was about George Floyd’s death or about inequities in communities in color.
  • Situation in Minneapolis is no longer about George Floyd. It’s about disrupting society and instilling fear.
  • Our tactic is to reduce loss of life and instill order.
  • Mobilized National Guard – over 700. Pulled in state patrol and other assets.
  • Spoke with Secretary of Defense Esper and Chairman of Joints of Staff to get suggestions of courses of action. Spoke with mayors.
  • No mayor in America has the resources to push back on something like that.
  • Fully mobilizing Minnesota National Guard. We will pull in assets as we have been doing.
  • For those wondering where police and fire were, every single person we had mobilized – largest in state history – engaged.
  • Goal is to get exponentially that force out there. Will be speaking to governors of neighboring states to send their National Guard.
  • At this point in time, nothing we do to address those inequities for George Floyd, none of those things matter to any of these people.
  • In partnership with mayors and the team that is here, throughout the day there will be peaceful and large protests. Today will be an expression of that grief of the loss of George Floyd. There will be legitimate exercising of First Amendment rights.
  • I will continue to stress – we are still in the middle of a pandemic and passed 1,000 deaths. Hospitals are still on the verge of being overrun.
  • Masks last night were worn to disguise and cause confusion.
  • Everyone in this room is up all night. At this point in time, it is nothing short of a blessing that no one has been killed. That situation can be expected to deteriorate further with these people
  • These people are being taught by professional in urban warfare
  • These people will see overwhelming force so that it stops and ends.
  • Minnesotans – this is a challenging time. Minneapolis and St. Paul are under assault. These people are not here to honor George Floyd.
  • For those who were wondering if we were timid, you need to understand this was the largest force going into that.
  • This call is only going to make it more difficult tonight. The people listening do not see this as a deterrent. This is the challenge they were looking for. The call will be to break the back of civil society. This is going to be very difficult.
  • To set expectations, they will slip away and start fires.
  • Our goal is to decimate that force and protect life, property, and restore that order.
  • Curfew in place. Restore order. It will be a dangerous situation on the streets tonight. We will do everything in our power to restore that order.
  • It will take all of us. I’m grateful to our neighbors who are sending help.
  • I’m grateful to President and administration to continue to be on the line to provide assistance.
  • Everything we believe in, they will try to destroy.
  • We will use full strength of righteousness to make sure this ends

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey

  • The show of force of tonight has to be about safety, security, peace, and order. Minneapolis residents are rightfully scared. We’ve seen long-term businesses and institutions set on fire
  • People who are doing this are not Minneapolis residents. They are coming in from outside city and region to prey on what we have built over several decades.
  • This has shifted from peaceful and more people coming from outside the city and looking to cause violence.
  • This is no longer about protesting. This is about violence and need to make sure it stops.
  • We’re in the middle of a pandemic. Two crises sandwiched ontop of one another.
  • To make sure we have necessary community institutions, need to make sure they are safe and secure
  • We will be mobilizing largest force in Minnesota history to help.

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter

  • Experiencing one of the most heartbreaking weeks in American and Minnesota history.
  • Woke up to disturbing video of George Floyd being killed.
  • Pain is legitimate.
  • We have an enormous number of people who agree that Mr. Floyd should be alive
  • Frustration that time and time again – no one held accountable.
  • We as a society must do everything we can to stop this from happening again
  • Many ways for us to work together and builds our communities and empowers our communities
  • The world is listening.
  • There are also those among us who would seek to use this moment and use his death as an excuse and cover to agitate for the destruction of same communities who have been most traumatized by George Floyd’s death. Those same communities are being re-traumatized right now.
  • This must stop. I know the governor and Mayor Frey support the people to protest.
  • That right to speak stops at destruction of lives, property, and livelihood.
  • In St. Paul last night, a curfew went into effect. Because we had a relative stillness in St. Paul, we didn’t make an enormous number of arrests, but many who were arrested were from out of state.
  • There is a group of people not from here.
  • Those people who are agitating and exciting are taking advantage of the anger of the legitimate sadness that so many of our community members feel – to advocate for destruction of our communities.
  • Our police officers and fire fighters are facing something they’ve never faced before that alone would be very difficult to address
  • This week, we must show same sense of togetherness and unity that we have from when pandemic began – same sense of cohesion and community.
  • We will not accept brutality killing of unarmed black men, the killing of George Floyd, and the destruction of our community

Commissioner John Harrington, Department of Public Safety

  • DPS was given mission to restore order and maintain and keep peace
  • We have assembled largest group of law enforcement for a single mission.
  • We have seen change over last couple of days. Protests were peaceful in the early days and I’m not seeing peaceful demonstrations or any empathy or any heart for Mr. Floyd.
  • We saw change in temperament. They weren’t protesting. They were bent on destruction of property and bent on trying to hurt people.
  • Multiple shots fired in both cities coming out of the rioter’s group.
  • We had National Guard shot at
  • We had IEDs thrown at law enforcement
  • They were setting fires to private property with no second thought
  • Saw a shift in the numbers
  • We were confronted with tens of thousands of rioters.
  • This is a group that is throwing projectiles, batteries, firing into crowds, attacking firefighters, EMS, law enforcement, sheriffs.
  • These groups have grown in craziness and grow in challenging approaches that we’ve had to adapt to
  • We’ve watched them try to destroy downtowns
  • We are adapting to their tactics. We have been making more arrests virtually every day. We have focused on the fact that this is not a protest or demonstration. We will always respect everyone’s first amendment rights, those rights stop at the end of a Molotov cocktail thrown into a business
  • We are gearing up and getting bigger. This is intolerable and we are coming to stop it.
  • We will make sure those who want to mourn Mr. Floyd are protected
  • National guard, state, county, and local will be in lockstep tonight to prevent attacks on businesses, personal safety, and personal liberties

Major General Jon Jensen, Adjunct General

  • 24 hours ago, we had 400 Guardmen in support of governor’s executive order
  • We reached a peak we’ve never been at – 700 soldiers and airmen in support of governor’s executive order
  • This is the largest law enforcement operation in MN history and it was not enough
  • Early yesterday we began mobilizing additional soldiers.
  • By noon, we’ll have 2,500 soldiers, but that’s not enough.
  • Governor announced full mobilization of MN National Guard since WWII.
  • It means we’re all in with the two mayors, their citizens, their communities.
  • Even that’s not enough, we had a conversation with Defense Secretary and chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff and asked for resources.
  • The MN National Guard is all in.

Colonel Matt Langer, Chief of Minnesota State Patrol

  • I stand here as chief of MN State Patrol. We’ve done something we’ve never done before in terms of our mobilization all across the state of MN to come to the metro area
  • Our job is to get out there to stop criminal behavior that we’ve been seeing and to prevent criminal behavior that we’re anticipating tonight and the near future.
  • We need your support, prayers, and thoughts as we work as hard as we possibly can to get MN out of this situation and move forward – one that is safe for every person who visits this wonderful state.

Questions from Reporters

  • Question: What kind of numbers are you talking about? How do you know they are out of town?

Walz: We understand that the catalyst for this was Minnesota’s inability to deal with inequities and racism. We’re going to start with following who these people are. Our best estimate is 20% are Minnesotans and 80% are outside.

  • Question: Who are these people and what is happening right now to go after them?

Harrington: As we’ve made arrests, we’ve analyzed the data of who has been arrested. We look at who they are associated with. What platforms are they advocating for? Seeing white supremacists advocating for people to come to MN. Seen flyers about protests where people have said they’re going to get “their loot on” tonight. We’ve been working with state, county, local and looking at issues around whether this is organized crime or an organized cell of terror. We are building that information network and building that intel network. We are not going to tolerate violence and destruction to use as a cover for other illegal activity.

  • Question: Will you release names and information?

Harrington: We hope to release some of that information today.

  • Question: Can you talk more about conversation with Secretary Esper and chairman of Joint Chiefs?

Walz: We’re looking at the resources they have. Are their things they can provide us? The uniqueness of our nation is that civilian control of the military. They are helping us access National Guard in other states. They may have resources through NSA to see who these operators are. Over the last 72 hours, these people have brought more terror and destruction than any time in our history. This has morphed over last 48 hours.

  • Question: The curfew did little to stop destruction.

Walz: Civil society is maintained by sense of social compact. Curfew gives us legal authority to make arrests. What you have seen in previous nights will be dwarfed by what you see tonight. They are trying to escalate a situation where deadly situation occurs and chaos ensues. Minneapolis mayor asked for National Guard early and were mobilized by Wednesday morning. We have to get help from public – if you know where these people are sleeping today and we will execute warrants.

  • Question: How many arrests have been made so far? How would you intend to go about enforcing curfew?

Walz: Some of this is going to be tactics that we use. Don’t want to broadcast that.

Harrington: 20 arrests on St. Paul side for burglary. About 1/3 of that total was for curfew violations. On Minneapolis, around 15-20. Much of that was curfew violations or for destruction of property. That’s only St. Paul and Minneapolis. Need to get Hennepin and Ramsey county booking numbers. Will need to tap into Washington, Dakota, Anoka.

  • Question: Is anyone out past 8 PM aiding and abetting these people?

Frey: Yes, by being out tonight, you are helping those to seek to wrong our city. Let me be clear – the people in our city, the residents, they are not abiding by the curfew because they don’t want to get arrested. They’re doing it because it’s the right thing to do during our city. Early on, there were questions about why we don’t arrest our way out of this and why isn’t there an officer in every business. We placed an officer there, it would be one officer facing 100 people coming in. If you arrest 1, the other 99 walk by. This became difficult situation. We did not have the numbers early on. On Wednesday afternoon, requested assistance from National Guard. We need the numbers. We can’t do it alone. Tonight, abide by curfew. We need everybody complying.

Carter: There are people seeking to peacefully protest. The problem is that you have somebody who will go forward and break a window and try to start a fire and then go behind people trying to peacefully protest. I hear people saying the curfew didn’t work. To be clear, I don’t think there’s an expectation that people here from out of town to insight violence will stay home. Need to separate people from those exercising First Amendment rights to those seeking destruction.

  • Question: When you talk about full mobilization, how many troops have you asked for National Guard?

Jensen:  When the governor tasked me with full mobilization, every soldier and airmen is available for the operation.  In between 2,300 and 13,200.

  • Question: POTUS offered federal troops. Are you going to accept it?

Walz: We’ve been consulted early. Have spoken twice to Secretary Esper and chairman of Joints Chiefs about what that would look like. There is a mechanism of the National Guard that is quicker and better to rely on state partners to provide that. Federal troops – not from the community. About 700.

Walz: If you are out after 8:00, you are aiding and abetting these people.

Amos A. Briggs | Government Relations
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