MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minneapolis City Council voted Friday to extend Mayor Jacob Frey’s emergency powers through the weekend, allowing him to issue more nightly curfews if he deems it necessary.
So far, no curfews have been set for the weekend, and at a press conference Friday afternoon, Gov. Tim Walz said that no curfew would be enforced Friday evening.
Minneapolis-St. Paul will *not* have a curfew tonight.
Our State Patrol and National Guard remain ready to support local law enforcement to keep our neighborhoods and businesses safe tonight.
— Governor Tim Walz (@GovTimWalz) August 28, 2020
The mayor declared a state of emergency Wednesday night, when misinformation about a man’s suicide on Nicollet Mall led to widespread rioting and looting in downtown Minneapolis. The declaration allowed him to issue a curfews for Wednesday and Thursday night.
The powers would have expired Saturday morning, 72 hours after Frey declared the state of emergency. The mayor told the city council that he hopes he doesn’t need to issue any more curfews, but asked for an extension of the emergency powers to avoid a special city council meeting.
The mayor made it clear that he does not have any immediate plans to demobilize the Minnesota National Guard. So if anything possibly escalates tonight or into the weekend, law enforcement will be ready to address it immediately.
Andrea Abram lives in Loring Park and says she did not think the number of officers and tanks in the Minneapolis streets Thursday night was necessary. The goal of the law enforcement agencies was to keep the peace and enforce a strict 8 p.m. curfew.
“It was a lot. I understand the need for it, but it could have not been so much,” Abram said.
Neighbor Chris Pierce agreed, thinking the heavy presence of the Minnesota National Guard and police sent the wrong message to a hurting community.
“I feel uncomfortable with the National Guard, and the way I’ve seen the National Guard behave is not appropriate to what the city needs,” Pierce said.
Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington viewed Thursday night as a success. Between all agencies throughout the Twin Cities there were about 100 arrests for curfew violations, with a 75-80% drop in crime overnight.
“We are not completely stepping that down, frankly, there will State Patrol on tap for this weekend, there will still be DNR and other state agencies on tap to provide security this weekend,” Harrington said.
Although the strict curfew will not continue into Friday night, Frey said there will be a continued increased presence of law enforcement through the city all weekend.
“The presence that is visible will likely be less than what you saw last night,” Frey said.
For some of those who live downtown, like Pierce, they are not resting on the idea of peace while people are still demanding justice and change.
“This isn’t over. We all need to take ownership of the process and be a part of that change,” Pierce said.