Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced Saturday that the Minnesota National Guard has been “fully” mobilized in response to the protests over George Floyd’s death.
This marks the first “full” mobilization of the state’s National Guard since World War II.
“We built this state. We built the North Star. Everything that we believe in, these people are trying to destroy,” Walz said at a press conference Saturday morning, during which he put the blame for the “wanton destruction and chaos” from the protests on out-of-state demonstrators coming into Minnesota.
On Friday, Minnesota had mobilized 700 troops to respond to the protests, which Minneapolis has seen for five nights in a row. Walz says he has now authorized the National Guard to “fully mobilize,” and that by noon on Saturday, 2,500 troops would be sent out.
“Our great cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul are under assault,” Walz said. “The situation in Minneapolis is now about attacking civil society, instilling fear and disrupting our great city.”
In his remarks, Walz said that the escalation of the state’s protests — which have seen buildings such as gas stations, banks and a post office destroyed — have “made a mockery” of Floyd’s death.
Protests in response to Floyd’s death have broken out this week, not just in Minnesota, but all across the country.
Floyd, a black man, was arrested by Minneapolis police Monday after an employee at a convenience store called authorities to say he suspected Floyd of passing a counterfeit $20 bill.
During Floyd’s arrest, white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes, an act that was caught on video by a bystander. In the clip, Floyd can be heard asking officers to let him breathe but is not shown to be resisting. Paramedics were called to the scene, where they found Floyd to be unresponsive. He was later pronounced dead.
Chauvin has since been fired by the Minneapolis police, arrested and charged with third-degree murder in connection to Floyd’s death. The three other officers who were involved in Floyd’s arrest have not been arrested or charged, though they were also fired.