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Gov. Tim Walz and Minnesota National Guard Adjutant Gen. Jon Jensen announced the request at a news conference early Saturday.
Guard personnel already deployed in addition to state and local police haven’t been able to control the violence and unrest that the Minneapolis-St. Paul area has seen in recent days, Walz said.
Gen. Jensen hopes the state will have 1,700 soldiers ready to go for Saturday night, making it the largest deployment in state history.
“This is the largest civilian deployment in Minnesota history that we have out there today and quite candidly right now, we do not have the numbers,” Walz said. “We cannot arrest people when we are trying to hold ground because of the sheer size, the dynamics and the wanton violence.”
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz addresses reporters as the Minneapolis-St. Paul region deals with continued rioting following the death of George Floyd.
Minneapolis police said gunshots were fired at police officers near the city’s Fifth Precinct on Friday night, one night after rioters broke into and torched the Third Precinct, FOX 9 reported.
Reinforcements from the active-duty forces could also be on the way soon. Military police units have been put on alert. Fox News can confirm at least one unit out of Fort Drum, New York home to the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division has been told to be ready to deploy in 4-hours if needed.
The 10th Mountain is part of the Army’s 18th Airborne Corps, which always keeps a brigade on alert ready to deploy overseas on short notice. An alert brigade from the 82nd Airborne Division was recently deployed on short notice to the Middle East in early January after the attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad.
Some officials say it’s not a coincidence its soldiers from Fort Bragg and Fort Drum, first reported by the Associated Press, which have been put on alert. Some of these soldiers are already on alert as part of the 18th Airborne Corps, which rotates an alert brigade of roughly 4,000 soldiers.
Military Police units could be used to back up law enforcement in Minnesota, but no orders have been given to deploy, officials tell Fox News.
Deploying active-duty forces in not without precedent inside the United States. In 1992, thousands of active-duty forces were dispatched to Los Angeles during the Rodney King riots under the Insurrection Act of 1807.
Floyd’s death Monday – for which four Minneapolis police officers were fired Tuesday and one of them, Derek Gauvin, was arrested and charged with third-degree murder Friday – has sparked protests and rioting across the U.S., from New York City and Washington, D.C., to Chicago; Columbus, Ohio, Louisville, Ky., and Dallas, to San Jose, Calif.; Los Angeles and Portland, Ore.
“The arrest of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the brutal killing of George Floyd is a welcome but overdue step on the road to justice,” Floyd family attorney Ben Crump said Friday, according to FOX 9. “We expected a first-degree murder charge. We want a first-degree murder charge. And we want to see the other officers arrested.”
This photo provided by the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office shows former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, who was arrested Friday in the Memorial Day death of George Floyd. (Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office via AP)
Meantime, all across the nation came reports of arson fires, looting and smashed windows and vehicles. From some cities came reports of gunfire against police officers.
And all of it happened as the nation continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 100,000 Americans.
In Portland, Ore., a crowd smashed windows and sparked a fire inside the city’s Justice Center, FOX 12 of Oregon reported.
In San Jose, police officers fired on an SUV that struck at least two people, according to the Mercury News.
“The whole crowd started chasing the car but it got away,” Saul Duarte, a protester who recorded the incident on video, told the newspaper. “After that, everyone surrounded the two injured people and tried helping but the cops started tear-gassing us.”
WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES
In Oakland, Calif., police said several officers were injured by projectiles, FOX 2 of the Bay Area reported.
Bystanders also reported being injured.
“I got punched in the face and my cell phone was taken,” one motorist told FOX 2.
In New York, rioters torched a police van and NYPD officers reported hundreds of arrests, The New York Post reported.
A police van goes up in flames in New York City.
In Washington, the White House was briefly placed on lockdown as crowds reached a boiling point, FOX 5 of DC reported.
In Atlanta, a crowd stormed the entrance to CNN headquarters, at one point climbing onto the TV network’s logo outside the building.
Demonstrators paint on the CNN logo during a protest, Friday, May 29, 2020, in Atlanta, in response to the death of George Floyd in police custody on Memorial Day in Minneapolis. (Associated Press)
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued an impassioned plea for rioters to stop their violence and simply go home.
“What I see happening in the streets of Atlanta is not Atlanta,” Bottoms said, according to FOX 5 Atlanta. “This is not a protest. This is not in the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. This is chaos. A protest has purpose.”
“What I see happening in the streets of Atlanta is not Atlanta. This is not a protest. This is not in the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. This is chaos. A protest has purpose.”
— Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms
In Chicago, demonstrators shut down streets in the Loop, many of them chanting, “I can’t breathe,” which Floyd was heard saying on a video that went viral, showing a police officer kneeling on his neck, FOX 32 reported.
Early Saturday, Chicago police were deployed to the Trump International Hotel and Tower, where a crowd had gathered.
Video posted on social media showed people lying on the ground after apparently being struck by objects.
Hundreds of protesters filled the streets in Louisville, where they demonstrated for a second night not only against Floyd’s death but against the death of Breonna Taylor, an emergency room technician who was killed by a police officer in her home on March 13.
Police used tear gas against the crowd, FOX affiliate WDRB-TV reported.
“This has been a very sad night for our city,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer told reporters just after 1 a.m. Saturday. “There needs to be ample recognition of the underlying inequity that causes so much of this frustration, but there is no excuse for the destruction of property we have seen this evening. This is not protest; it is violence.”
“There is no excuse for the destruction of property we have seen this evening. This is not protest; it is violence.”
— Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer
Although fired Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin has been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter in connection with Floyd’s death, the three other officers who were fired in connection with the case have not been charged with any crimes – and it remained unclear when the protests and rioting would end.
Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson and The Associated Press contributed to this story.