MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — City and state leaders spoke forcefully Thursday about bringing back peace and order to downtown streets. And Minnesota National Guard military police and soldiers will stay as long as needed.
Minneapolis will be under a curfew for the second night in a row, beginning at 8 p.m. St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter announced early Thursday evening that his city will also go under curfew at the same time, which will also end Friday at 6 a.m.
After what many called a rocky city and state response to the George Floyd protests and rioting, Gov. Tim Walz said there were lessons learned.
“We were specifically looking for military police last night,” Walz said.
Around 45 National Guard MPs were sent to assist Minneapolis police, county deputies and state troopers; hundreds more soldiers are on their way.
Walz said the rioting came without warning, and demanded immediate response.
“As I’ve said, I can only put in National Guard on the streets into a clear mission. And I think their mission is in support of local law enforcement. What we saw last night was a coordination from the lessons learned,” Walz said. “After you watch Kenosha earlier this week and saw what happened last night, it felt like we were back to May 27, May 28, and that’s not a place we want to be. We’re not going to forget.”
Earlier in the day city leaders expressed their anger with what Minneapolis City Council member Lisa Goodman called disgusting and pointless violence.
“None of this did anything to advance racial justice in our community,” Goodman, whose ward represents 50,000 downtown residents, said. “This is not the way to solve this problem, and we cannot tolerate it in our city any longer.”
Speaking at a joint city hall news conference with Mayor Jacob Frey, Police Chief Medaria Arradondo expressed frustration, saying destruction does nothing to advance the dialogue towards racial justice.
“These individuals were not peacefully protesting, they were vandalizing,” he said. “I will not tolerate that.”
Arradondo thanked community leaders who tried to quash rumors and quell the violence, saying he’s optimistic that peaceful city streets will soon return.
Frey called the wanton destruction anything but righteous protest, saying many in the crowd were used for the sake of lawlessness.
“Let’s restore order, let’s restore peace. That is my ask of everyone tonight,” he said.