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May 31, 2020 9:30 AM Press Conference Transcript

5/31/2020 9:15:32 AM

Video Source: TPT Twin Cities PBS Facebook Live (May 31, 2020)

Governor Tim Walz: Good morning, everyone. Good morning, Minnesota. The past week was one of the most difficult and trying weeks in the history of our state. It started with the tragic and senseless murder of George Floyd, and it extended through the week of righteous anger being expressed by community leaders and all people of conscience, and continued to deteriorate into civil unrest and eventually, violence and rioting. This morning in Minnesota, the sun came up, as it does this time of year, bright.  Trees are budded out. Flowers are up. The promise of summer after a long winter is there. I want to say thank you to all of the people of Minnesota who protected their neighbors, who took an unprecedented step last night of making sure we created the space, so that an unprecedented force of our neighbors and our public servants were able to come together and execute the most complex public safety operation in the state's history. They did so in a professional manner. They did so without a single loss of life and minimal property damage. I am grateful to those folks out there. I'm grateful for their protection of Minnesota. I want to make note once again that the operational plan and the decision to operate falls squarely with me, and when the order to do so, the actions that happen after that are my responsibility. I want to once again extend my deepest apologies to the journalists who were once again in the middle of this situation, who were inadvertently, but, nevertheless, detained to them personally, and to the news organizations and to journalists everywhere, it is unacceptable. I said when it happened the other day, when I failed you, I have to do better. I continue to need to do and send that message. I take full responsibility for that and won't equivocate, no matter how difficult the  environment is. I would just ask folks to know that in order to restore public order and adhering to democratic principles, and having a history of governors welcoming that openness, it is certainly not our intention, nor is it helpful to restore public order, to have that happen. So you can rest assured that we will look back again at what happened, try and make those changes. So I ask you, again, that we continue to dialogue with the media. It's critically important we do that. It's critically important that Iam able to maintain or restore their trust in the necessity of them being out there to tell the story. Yesterday was a day filled with tension. It was a day unlike any other, nothing any of us in Minnesota had seen before. The raw emotions were on display. As I said yesterday, the beautiful expression of solidarity and community that we saw played out by peaceful protesters, by that beautiful tapestry that's Minnesota, indigenous dancers, leading in the middle, while the crowd kneeled around in reverence in making sure that justice was served. I gathered yesterday with a group of leaders, elected leaders, clergy, moral leaders led by Lieutenant Governor Flanagan, Senators Klobuchar and Smith, and an array of leaders. If any of you got the opportunity to hear some of those remarks, I said for the first time in quite some time, a weight fell off my heart and was soaring up by what Minnesota could be. And we were there together for a dual purpose. The first was to send a message to stay home last night and stay off the streets, so that we wouldn't have the loss of life and we could restore order. But it was very clear that was not the primary message. That message was a means to an end.  Each and every one of them did, -and the gift they've given us, is that the sun came up this morning to open up the space for the real conversation, a real understanding that George Floyd was dead, and the conditions here in Minnesota contributed to that and that we needed to deal with that. That space was created by last night's action, to have us deal with the systemic issues that we see exploding across the country. Before Iwas in elected office, -I'm a public school  teacher by trade. I spent 20 years doing that. One of the things Iwas most proud of, and I think as Minnesotans, -many of you across the world may be getting your first look at who we are, and that's unfortunate, but it's real, and we'll take that look. But one of the things I'm so proud of, our public schools consistently rank at or near the top. We're a state that extends from the Canadian border. We have lakes so clear and pristine, they're 40 feet deep and you can see the bottom and drink from them. We have iron ore mining and that the steel was used to build this country. We're a top agriculture producer. We're home to a higher concentration of fortune 500 companies than almost anywhere else, and we're home to the Mayo Clinic. We innovate. We're passionate people, and, again, back to that statistic. As governor, Ilike to talk about this, and the things that we say, we don't just rank near the top on educational attainment, we rank near the top on personal incomes, on home ownership, on life expectancies. One that came out a while back, we rank second in a survey of the 50 states, second in happiness, behind Hawaii. But if you take a deeper look and peel it back, which this week has peeled back, all of those statistics are true if you're white.  If you're not, we rank near the bottom. And what this week has shown all of us is, those two things can't operate at the same place. You cannot continue to say,  you're a great place to live, if your neighbor, because of the color of their skin, doesn't have that same opportunity. And that will manifest itself in things that are the small  hidden racism. It will manifest itself in a child of color not getting the same opportunities or a black community not being able to acquire wealth through homeownership because of lending practices. And as we saw last week, the ultimate end of that type of behavior is the ability to believe that you can murder a black man in public and it is an unusual thing that murder charges were brought days later. So, I would like to say and, again, I want to thank  everyone who participated in our ability to restore trust to our streets. It was incredibly complex. It was incredibly difficult, but that simply gets us back to a place that we were before and that place is not good enough. That place is not one that will get us the solutions. So i'm going to leave the details of the operation, -and I will be, of course, answering questions when we're done, to those commanders on the ground who executed this but it does fall to myself, other elected leaders, community leaders, and others that if we do not get to that systemic problem, eventually this will get us back to a point that led to our communities on fire, our security and safety in question, and a searching for who we are. So I could not be more proud of who we are as a state. I could not love this state more. And in doing so, that tough love means things have to change. We have got to figure out how to make sure that justice is served. And the groups of people that ask for this, the groups of people that were part of that message with Lieutenant Governor Flanagan leading it in her elegant words, as an indigenous woman  who understands what that means, of watching  Representative Omar on the streets begging people to come home, and receiving a call last night, -to understand how big this was, from Jay-z, not the international performer but the dad. Stressing to me that justice needs to be served, and that he's listening and hearing it. That this is a place that wants to do it. That this is a place that does it but we have to follow through. So with that, I'm going to transition here to, -and, again, of the chaos of this  week, of tension and frayed nerves, two people that i'm grateful that have been able to weather an emotional roller coaster with all of us, that is unprecedented, who i've learned to to be candid and to be able to be in a room with to ask and question where things were going, are the mayors of our great cities. Two young leaders with vision. Two young leaders who have been talking about that systemic issue since they were elected. It was their platform to make these changes, and I'm just proud of the way that they have conducted themselves in this with Mayor Carter from St. Paul, and now Mayor Frey from the great city of minneapolis. Mayor.                            

>>Minneapolis Mayor, Jacob Frey: Governor mentioned, just a couple seconds ago, this concept of who we are, and in talking about who we are and in seeing who we are, it's important to acknowledge both the positives as well as the negatives. For those of you that are seeing Minneapolis for the first time, you saw us in the five minutes of our worst, followed by a week of great difficulty. However, Ialso want you to  see some of the positives, and last night was sandwiched between a beautiful rally of thousands of people from our native community, all rallying around a common cause which is each other, which was diversity, which was everything that we hold dear. It was safe. It was peaceful. It was joyous. There was singing. There was dancing. That is also who we are. On the other side of that sandwich was the events that we're now seeing this morning, which is people coming out of their homes, walking to their businesses, picking up debris, pulling out a broom, and showing that even with the grave difficulty that we've had over the last week, even though the whole world has seen us at our worst, we can still be at our best. Ithink it's also right to acknowledge, first, that no mayor could have ever imagined the scenes that played out yesterday on our streets, or that yesterday's activity would ever be considered, somehow, to be more stable than the days that had preceded. But yesterday, the overarching mission was preservation of life, preservation of property, and restoration of order. To all our neighbors who stayed home and gave our first responders the opportunity to succeed, -and Ido mean it, they would not have had the opportunity to have any form of success without you staying at home. Every day since Monday, May 25th, when an officer murdered George Floyd and renewed a collective trauma in our city, and in our nation. For our black community, for our young people, for everyone that's hurting tonight, we are going to keep workin'. We're going to keep working to strive to make sure that the Twin Cities can be better. We know that there's a lot of work ahead. We know that there's a whole long way to go. And i'll just talk briefly  about the events of last night, which were obviously difficult to watch but the restoration of order in some form was important. Importantly, we had no significant fires last night. As you may have seen, just  after around 8:30, there were ten strike teams, ten mobile force teams with 100 each, and they were charged with moving people away from the fifth precinct, followed by making      arrests. And there were about 25 arrests that were made at the fifth precinct and I'll let the following  speakers talk more about this. We've got a lot of work to do ahead. We've got a whole lot of work to do ahead. And what's happened to George Floyd is indelibly etched into the soul of Minneapolis. And the action of one, and inaction of three officers, have forever changed our city. So we must become a better city. We must become a more just city. That is the task ahead of us today. That is the task ahead of us tomorrow and into the future. Thank you.                        

>> Governor Walz: Thank you, Mayor.              

>> Mayor of St. Paul, Melvin Carter: Yesterday, we asked a big thing of our residents. We asked you to stay home. We asked you to clear the streets, to give our police officers and law enforcement  professionals the opportunity to reclaim a sense of peace, a sense of calm, a sense of order in our community. At the heart of that request was an invitation. It was an invitation for us to take the anger, to take the grief, to take the trauma ,and even the rage, that we've all experienced over the past week and decide how we would channel it. We can either channel this energy towards destroying our own communities, towards burning and looting our barber shops, our restaurants, our family-owned businesses, the lives and livelihoods that have gone into all of those institutions, or we can take this energy and we can channel it towards building a better future. Ishare the Governor and Mayor Frey's sentiments of gratitude and extreme appreciation for those of you who honored that curfew, who stayed home and gave our law enforcement professionals an opportunity to work.  We know that right now is a moment of deep soul searching for our community and for our nation. Right now, we ought to be focused on the fact that George Floyd should still be alive today. We ought to be focused on the fact that when someone takes one of our lives in such dramatic and gruesome fashion, especially when it's as well documented as George Floyd's murder was, that we ought to have some ability to be confident, to be sure that the people responsible, not just one, but the four people responsible for his death, in a democracy as great as ours, that the four people responsible for his death will, of course, be held to account. We've had a lot of conversations in our community about whether these are insiders or outsiders, whether they're from in town or out of town. The one thing that's absolutely clear to me, is those folks who would seek to act in a way that during a pandemic would deprive our  senior citizens of the local pharmacy they need to go to to get their life-saving medicines, who in the midst of a food shortage would deprive our families of the grocery stores they need to go to to feed their children, who would deprive, in the middle of one of the greatest economic crises in our country's history, our workers from the opportunity to go to work and to earn a living and to go and participate in our economy, -the one thing that is clear to me is those folks’ actions are not driven by a sense of deep drive for the betterment of our community. I also want to acknowledge, as I have before, that that doesn't mean there's not real rage. That doesn't mean there's not real anger. And that doesn't mean that our residents are happy with what happened. We're not. I don't know a single police officer, I don't know a single CEO, I don't know a single lawyer, accountant or neighbor, community activist, who's happy with what happened, who's accepting what happened. George Floyd's killing is unacceptable, and it's disturbing by itself. In combination with all of the other people, African American people, African American men who have lost their lives unarmed, unaggressive, not just over the past decade as camera phones have become the norm, but over the past decades and generations and centuries in our country. That anger is real and I share it with you. So today, we're asking our community for peace. But I want to be very clear, we are not asking you for patience and we are not asking you for passivism. This is not a time for either of those things. We are not asking you, and I am not asking you to sit to the side and patiently wait while we slowly and incrementally stem the bloody tide of African American men killed by law enforcement. We're asking you to take that energy, that energy which has consumed our country, that energy which is a nuclear energy that could either destroy us or it could bring us together and build us up in a way that we have never been together before as a country, we're asking you to take that energy and use it not to  destroy our neighborhoods but to destroy the historic culture, to destroy the systemic racism, to destroy in specific where this is concerned the laws, the legal precedents, the police union  contracts, all of the things that make it so difficult to hold someone accountable when a life like George Floyd's is so wrongfully taken. If I had one thing, Governor, that could stop all of this, that could help ease all of the anger that we felt, it would be something in our history, some historic pattern    or fact or trend that could make us feel confident and  secure that the officers  involved will be held  accountable, that we as a  nation are using this as a  pivot point to chart a new course for our country.  Sadly, we don't have the historical fact or the  historical trend to show that, but the energy that we've seen this week, the passion that  we've seen this week, the dedication for a better country and a better future and a better state and a better city that we've seen this week is that energy, is that tool. So we're asking you to channel that energy in a way that builds us, in a way that makes us better, in a way that brings us together. And to every single person who's  frustrated, who's sad, who's angry, who's devastated, who wants the world to know that this can never happen again, I say that we're with you. I thank our law enforcement professionals for serving us so valiantly, our firefighters for serving us so valiantly, over the course of a devastating week, working in challenging conditions, sometimes with bottles, sometimes with rocks hurled at them. I know that they have to stand as a part of this work with us, as we build this stronger pact, this stronger social compact and this better future together. Thank you.            

>> Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, John Harrington: Thank you, Mayor.                 

>> Mayor Melvin: Thank you.                     

>> Commissioner Harrington: Good morning. I'm John Harrington, Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety. We set up for a new operational approach yesterday. We recognize that the group of rioters who had attacked the city of Minneapolis, and attacked the city of St. Paul, and attacked the surrounding communities,  burning, assaulting, robbing, and looting, that their numbers were great and that they had speed and a tactical advantage over us in the early days of last week. And, so, yesterday Minnesota's public safety group, chiefs of police, sheriffs, federal law enforcement, intel analysts, fire and EMS, and the Minnesota National Guard, all came together to take a different approach to how we were going to keep the peace, which I think is the most fundamental job of any cop. I always tell people that I don't think of myself as a police officer, I think of myself as a peace officer, and that's what we set out to do. We created a different organizational model at the multiagency community coordination center and we briefed that model, and we set out fast-moving teams throughout the twin cities area to targets that we knew were of high value and high probability of attack. We worked the intel, and we worked with the community. I want to emphasize that we worked with the community to identify where those high-value targets would be, and we prepositioned staff so that they would be immediately adjacent and we gave this mandate to them: get there fast. Speed is of the essence. Stop the violence. Stop the criminal activity. Do not sit back and wait for enough resources to get there to have the perfect plan. Get in there and get it done rapidly. In addition to that, we set up     more traditional mechanisms, mobile field forces. They're bigger, and they're stronger. But if you are going to confront a large crowd of committed rioters armed and ready to do damage, we needed to make sure that we had those resources there. And then I am so terribly grateful for General Jensen's folks because they then anchored critical infrastructure freeing up law enforcement, freeing up peace officers, fire and others to be able to go out and be that rapid response force that we needed. That plan started yesterday at 4:00, roughly 1600 hours, and by 1800 hours, our points of contact were in place. We were already receiving information and we continued our communications throughout the night.  Preliminary data, and that's all this is at this point, is that by about 2:00 in the morning, there were about 25 arrests on the Hennepin county side and that there were about 30 arrests on the Ramsey county side, but I know that between 2:00 and 0600 hours this morning, it sounds like we have had additional arrests that were made, maybe as many as another 40 or 50 arrests that were  made, and we'll get that information for you. We did take action, as the Governor outlined to us, to ensure people's safety was going to be protected.  We did use the curfew effectively. We did not allow the rioters to get set up and we kept the rioters moving and we at every opportunity arrested the rioters for violations of the curfew. Just as importantly, I want people to think about this, a large number of the arrests we made over the last night were for weapons violations. We took AR-15s off of people. We took guns off of people. We noted that once again, their tactics had also changed. We noted that we were seeing cars drive through our neighborhoods and through our communities without any license plates on them, and with their lights out and their windows blacked out. Police moved to stop those vehicles and when they did, the drivers and occupants of those vehicles fled on foot. Some were arrested. As is always the case, you can't catch everybody. But when we went back to those cars, we found that several of them had been stolen locally. and we found that they were full of rocks and other weapons that were being driven to places so that more damage and more assaults could take place. We got innovative last night. One of the missions that the Governor gave us was fire suppression. Fire suppression is not necessarily or normally in my wheelhouse, I will admit. So we went to the state fire marshal and we went to the DNR who do fire suppression as a regular part of their business ,and we got innovative there and we began using aviation support to support a fire suppression mission. We were able to pull in additional fire companies from the suburbs to help support Minneapolis and St. Paul's fire. We didn't need very many of them. We were really very very fortunate, and I'll take good luck over most everything most days. In addition to the fire suppression mission, the last piece of this that I want to say is that we also really did work on the information mission, and we knew that we were  getting tips from the community. We got tips. I was on the phone with church leaders long into the night, with rumors of riots and looting that were coming to their communities. We were able to debunk most of those rumors but we were also able to alert church leaders when a set of rumors came that black churches were going to be attacked. We were able to alert some significant church leaders that this was at least a rumor that we were hearing, and that we were working to either confirm or deny that rumor, and that allowed the churches to do what they needed to do to protect their facilities and their places of faith. Over the night, as I said, we had a significant number of arrests. We had one officer that was shot at. The officer was not hit. We arrested the two people that were in the car from which the shot was fired, and we recovered an AR-15 rifle in that particular case. What I will say in conclusion, is this was a team effort. This was the State Patrol and the DNR stepping up into  working in an area that's not their normal area of responsibility and they stood tall. There were sheriffs from all over the state of Minnesota sending me their corrections officers and their deputies, and literally coming to the mac themselves to make sure that we had the resources we needed. This is federal law enforcement partners, the FBI, the U.S. Attorney's office, the U.S. Marshal, sending us additional resources to make sure that we could do investigations, that we could scrub the intel so that we could be driven by facts and not necessarily running around chasing every rumor with uniformed cops. And, finally, last, but not least, this was an overwhelming support by the Minnesota National Guard, coming in and locking down critical facilities so that first responders could, in fact, respond and respond quickly. At this time, I will turn the mic over to General Jensen from the Minnesota National Guard:

>> Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General, Jon Jensen: Good morning, everyone. I’m Major General Jon Jensen, Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard. The Minnesota National Guard continues to build our presence and our integration with our law enforcement partners across Minneapolis and St. Paul. Last night, we completed 19 missions supporting law and order operations, fire response, and EMS support. This morning, I had the opportunity to visit Minneapolis and visit my soldiers and airmen who are in support of this operation. And i'm impressed and inspired by these men and women, who in just a few short hours left their lives as civilians, as school teachers, business owners, mechanics, truck drivers, and in a very short period transitioned into the role as citizen soldier, citizen airmen, and operated with professionalism and dedication in an incredibly dangerous and complex environment. Commissioner Harrington talked about this as a team effort, and it absolutely is a team effort.  We're a small part of that team. We're incredibly proud to be part of that team, both in Minneapolis and in St. Paul but we also know this, and several of the briefers this morning talked about this, a tremendous amount of work remains ahead of us. We're committed to all of that work, whether it's this week, next month, or into the future. Thank you.  At this time, I'll be followed by Colonel Langer from the State Patrol.                      

>> State Patrol, Colonel Langer: Thank you, general. Good morning. Yesterday, I stood here and I think I led with asking for the support from minnesotans. As I stand here 24 hours later, after a very difficult, tiring, dangerous, dynamic night, the first thing I want to say is thank you to the support of Minnesotans for helping us get through the night in a way that was very different than the previous nights this week. And while we were proud and humbled to accept the incredible challenge given to us by Governor Walz to restore order and bring peace to the city of minneapolis, make no mistake about it, the state patrol didn't do this alone. The State Patrol relies heavily on the relationships we have developed over the history of our organization all across Minnesota with  allied agencies. I cannot thank the police chiefs and the sheriffs enough, who dropped everything and sent their people to a community that they don't normally police, to help make the city safer. State troopers, the DNR Conservation Officers, the entire National Guard, county sheriff's deputies, police officers and all the  dispatchers and other people who support those that you see in uniform, thank you is all that comes to mind but it's not enough. The selfless service, traveling from all areas of the state to the metro region to risk their personal safety for the greater good, really needs to be driven home. It was a dangerous night. It was a dangerous action. It was dynamic. It was unpredictable. And anyone who watched what happened all the rest of this week knew that that was likely what was in front of us last night but as you know, our plan was different. It was unified, we were committed. And although we're never perfect, and we're oftentimes our harshest critics, and there are always lessons learned, I stand on the back side of last night to say, our goal was accomplished. Fires were not set. We didn't see the lawlessness. We didn't see the risk to  personal safety, the crime, the looting, the burglary, the property destruction was stemmed. That was our goal, that was our expectation and that is our hope as we  move forward. I appreciate the support of Minnesota and I can't, again, say thank you enough to both those in minnesota who  supported us and continue to support us and listen to the advice and obey the curfew, and, again, thank those front-line first responders, our state troopers and others who came together and put  their lives on the line to  make the city safer and to make Minnesota a safe place  for everybody. Thank you.                        

>> Governor Walz: Again, I too, want to echo my thanks to Commissioner Harrington, General Jensen, Colonel Langer, and all the folks that were there, for doing this incredibly difficult mission. I have to note that we're not done yet. At this point in time, I'd like to announce that we're going to be extending the curfew into this evening, as well as some of the operational moves that will continue to be put out today, like the closing of the major highways. In talking about what it takes to make this happen, you're hearing a lot of thanks, I think there's a lot of untold stories out there of everyone who is making this happen, trying to make support from our business communities. I received communications from Charlie Weaver, who leads up our Minnesota business partnership, making note in helping us understand all of the private businesses, who are already hurting in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic and those restrictions, were out there providing food and support to our first responders. I want to thank all of them, and I also want to thank Minnesotans. Our democracy is dependent on the checks and balances. Our democracy is dependent on how things have a transparency to make sure     we're making the right  decisions and able to correct those, to bring back a place where civil liberties are  critically important and that that legislative process is part of this. With that being said, I want to be clear, the responsibility of  this organization to put the pieces, to task the experts in individual areas, there's only one person in Minnesota that can issue that order to go, and that's  myself as Governor of Minnesota. That means the responsibilities are mine. When I sent those folks into the field to operate, the  outcomes of that and how that was conducted and the guidance to them falls back with me. I think what's important, though, is there are other voices in this, and last night I want to thank, and this has been active from, -you heard about the church leaders and everybody, but the legal responsibility of our legislators to be a part of this, they have been constantly on the phone, basically doing the thing that great legislators do, fielding questions and concerns and problem solving for their constituents. Whether they be house members or senate members, or whether they be leaders in those organizations. So last night in the final briefing, and the execution of this operation was going to be put in place, before I was giving the order, those leaders were briefed. And Speaker Melissa Hortman, Speaker of the Minnesota house, Susan Kent, the Minority leader of the Minnesota Senate joined us by phone, and Majority leader in the Minnesota Senator, Paul Gazelka and Minority leader, Kurt Daudt joined us in the emergency operation center where they received a brief from my on the ground  commanders. I gave them my commander's intent of what would happen, and what would be done. They asked all of the right questions, and I just want to say, -and I certainly won't speak for them, they'll speak for  themselves, but the sentiment is that we're clearly political rivals but our love for our state and the desire to get this right was expressed. I want to say thank you to them, understanding how difficult it is for them to watch this at this time, but their support, their continuing to ask questions, probe and challenge to make us do this right, is greatly appreciated. With that, I would open it up for questions. Esme.  

Esme: Governor, why didn't you have that same massive show of force on Friday night? Thursday night the third precinct was burned down. Businesses were destroyed. I mean, Thursday night was a bad night. Why not?    

Governor Walz: Well, the first thing I would say that I've seen this, and we've discussed this both from a military perspective, the question is always going to get asked is, why did you not have enough and why did you have too much? I've had questions last night, could I guarantee that Minnesotans would have the safety in their homes? And I said, I will guarantee I will give my best effort. Those very same reporters two hours later were saying, is this an excessive use of force that we're seeing? One of the things is, logistically, to bring them there, I think on the timing we understood. One of the critiques was, didn't we do this Wednesday or why didn't we do it Tuesday? There's logistics of adding the type of force we had out there. There was also the dynamics of a community that is raw from law enforcement. Keeping in mind what the spark that lit this was law enforcement killing an innocent man on the street. So trying to measure when the proper time was, when it was right to be there, I will not make excuses. In retrospect, I think you could go back, we said this, if we had assembled this force last Friday we'd have been better off but that wasn't going to be that, that wasn't the case. Again, I'm the only one that can issue those responsibilities. That means if you're going to do this, I think in our country it's important, if it succeeds because you did that, that's fine but you also need to stand here if it didn't. I'm not going to second guess. I think it was, again, I felt most comfortable that we had our forces in place to be able to do that but it's something that I will have to deal with that loss of property and the anguish that's there is simply real, but that's retrospect and I have to look to the future. Peter. 

Peter: Governor, yesterday, Justin Terrell from the Council of African Heritage asked that the Hennepin County attorney be taken off the prosecution in this case. I would like your views on that. One, do you have any authority to do that? And, two, if you do, is it  something that you're considering?            

Governor Walz: Yeah, this question has been asked a lot. I think it needs to be talked about. This is complex. I have folks that let me know what the laws are and this week, still at this point, trying to keep me from not using my authority as the governor to jeopardize the legal proceedings that are out there, but I hear this. I hear there are concerns. We have explored, and I do believe at this point in time, it's not clear cut and I think we probably need to explain that or have an opportunity to talk to the public of where that's at, but that is a potential possibility. At this time, no decision has been made, and we'll continue to explore that because Mayor Carter said it, everyone here has said it, this issue of justice. There is no one in the communities, especially the black community, until they see results are in any way going to feel comforted. They've seen this before. They've seen incremental change. They've seen times of crises. They've seen governors stand up in front of them and tell them, never again. So when there are those leaders and when there is an outcry on numerous fronts about things that we maybe, have not done before but need to be done, I hear them. So...any other?                        

>> Unknown: Yes, Governor, if I can ask a follow-up to Peter's question. This is from Doug Glass at the Associated Press. He specifically asked the same question about the special prosecutor, but says that the Floyd family has specifically requested Attorney General Keith Ellison to be the special prosecutor  as has half of the Minneapolis city council, your thoughts on that?     

Governor Walz: That's correct, and the siblings of George Floyd asked me personally on this, so we have had that conversation. And I have received from the city council and from legislators that request. I think it goes to the question that both of you are asking. There's a desire for this. I think it's incumbent upon me in consultation with these leaders, certainly from the legal aspect, to make sure I don't do anything to jeopardize justice in this, but to recognize that the communities themselves are asking certain things and I need to explore it. I can just tell you at this point in time, no decision has been made, but as certainly as we're saying, it is out there, it is being considered. It would be incredibly negligent in the environment that we're in for me not to make sure we're exploring every option. Anyone else?   

Unknown: We’ve heard multiple times from officials, outside agitators from outside  Minnesota, outside the area driving the violence. Do you still believe that's the case, and the arrests you made last night, are those folks from Minnesota, within the state or outside of the state?                            

Governor Walz: I want to address this. I certainly believe the sophistication of this. I,  again, don't want to get ahead of what is proprietary, this is a fine line. My inclinations are to be as transparent and give things forward. Before our operations kicked off last night, a very sophisticated denial of  service attack on all state computers was executed. That's not somebody sitting in their basement. That's pretty sophisticated. But I do want to address this. I'm going to let the folks talk about the numbers. I think the confusion around this and the focusing on it, -I did last night, when I went home to shower late before coming back up here, i'll just candidly, you know, there's the confusion of all this that's happening. We're getting data in, -it's hard to get the data just directly on arrests, what we're hearing from human intelligence that's coming in. But I just think, candidly, I certainly think I want to believe it's outside more, and that might go to the problem that we have of saying, can't be Minnesotans, can't be Minnesotans who did this. I've said all along when this question got asked to be very clear about this, in saying that I think, and I know there are outside folks in there, whether predominance, whether they're leading it or not, i've been very clear and I’ll say it again this morning, the catalyst that started all of this was the murder of George Floyd in Minnesota and that was our problem. And, so, we'll get more data on this. I think wherever these folks are coming from, to cause this harm, we have to address it. But I do want to be very clear, the idea of saying they're outside forces is not to deflect and pretend we don't have that. So I do think it's an important question. At this time, I don't know if there's anything to add. I don't have any specifics on this, other than to be able to say that it does not look like the majority, - maybe I can't speak about the arrests, so i'll make sure. 

Commissioner Harrington: John Harrington, again. The data we had from yesterday, there was about 20% of the folks arrested came from outside of the state of Minnesota. We're tracking folks from Arkansas, from Kansas City, from Iowa, and Illinois and I believe, Michigan, in the pool of folks that were arrested yesterday. I still don't have the booking sheets yet from last night, so I can't give you any additional information on that in terms of the most current set of arrests but 20% of yesterday's arrests had out-of-state addresses that we were tracking.            

Governor Walz: Thank you, John.  Thank you for the question. I think this is one we still  need to explore more. And, again, just in that moment of candidness, it's easier sometimes for us to believe, but also, I think, people understand in this broader issue, that leads to some of the systemic issues. In the front. Yes, sir.    

Unknown: Governor, can you talk about tonight and the next couple of days what people, particularly in the worst-hit areas, should think about, you know, continuing to take precautions, those sorts of things?   

Governor Walz: Yeah. I think today will be, again, -the mayors talked about this, you'll see the best that  Minnesota has to offer. There's folks already out there cleaning, building, doing things.  I think it would be naive of us and irresponsible, -and this will be a question maybe going back to Esme, we are going to keep in place that curfew, and we'll communicate with the public clearly today. There will be critiques of me that this is excessive, “why are you keeping the force on the ground, after this happened?”  I just think it's irresponsible. We don't think these people quit. I think in light of what we're seeing around the country, that these have expanded and, so,what we're asking  people to do is to, today, continue on with what they're doing. We're going to encourage you throughout the day, -and, again, I want to add to that cooperation, I do know that there will be people that were on the streets last night after the curfew that are there because they are outraged about what happened to George Floyd. They were out on the streets after 8:00, not thinking about causing riots. But as we said yesterday, we can't separate in that, and these people are hiding behind them. So I'm going to ask the leaders, again, to ask those folks to stay home after 8:00, to ask them to give us the  space and we are going to not allow our streets to be turned into chaos. We are going to be     smart with our force that's out there and, of course, continue to monitor the situation. We certainly, as I think folks know, we cannot stay in this posture forever. That's why it's important today, to start sending strong signals on the things to the people that caused this and the catalysts that cause it are being worked on, are being talked about.  I will be spending time     talking once again with the faith leaders, with community leaders, with folks who are looking at law enforcement reform, all of those things will happen, but to Minnesotans, I would tell you this, we've got a bright, sunny last day of may. Our city is not burning. We had no loss of life.   We saw our communities come  together around this. Be a day, I think, to start  the healing, but come 8:00 tonight and before that, I'd ask us to make sure we can maintain that. Peter. 

Peter: Thank you.  I have a question for state police. At risk of being one of those     reporters who questions tactics, I’m going to ask about tactics last night. There was a lot of attention paid particularly to the video of the woman on her porch, who was told to go inside and I think a marking round was fired at her. Can you speak to that? And then also, I know it's too soon for any after-action analysis, were there other things that concerned you that you think you would like to address with folks going forward?   

Colonel Langer:  Yeah, that's a good  question.  I think I referenced in my comments, you know, these aren't particularly pretty actions that we take. And I can assure you of all the things the state patrol would have rather been doing this week and last night, it was anything but what we had to do, but it was necessary. And, so, I commit to you, honesty and transparency, we always look at these types of situations. There's always lessons learned. Never a single one of them has gone by that's perfect, and as long as we're continually improving, both our training and our practices in learning, that's all that we can ask for. And, so, we'll review this, like we do any large-scale incident, both with the greater law enforcement community and then inside specifically within the state patrol. There will be things that we learn. There will be things that we change and then we hope we never have to do this again, but if we do, we'll be better. 

Peter: Is there a protocol that says, you do not want to have something behind you, for instance?               

>> Colonel Langer: Absolutely, yeah, make no mistake about it. When you're standing on that line, and you have to picture and put yourself in the  position of law enforcement.  You're wearing all your gear. You have a helmet on, because people are throwing things at you, and people are getting hurt. And then you put a gas mask on because we're  confronted with things being  thrown at us, both liquid, whether it's urine or gasoline or other items. There's  chemicals, there's commercial-grade fireworks coming at us. There's literally like a fog. And, so, you put all of this stuff on, you're pushing into an unknown dangerous environment where  people are collecting signs and rebar and breaking fences and arming themselves to do harm to our law enforcement.  Yeah, it's a dynamic, dangerous situation. And when you're pushing forward, absolutely, the goal     of crowd control is to control    that crowd, to disperse that crowd, to bring the energy out, to keep the peace, and then to arrest and remove quickly those that aren't listening or those that are intent on doing harm. Nothing about it is pretty. You hit the nail on the head. The goal is to disperse and move that crowd. And you cannot move some of the crowd and allow some of  the crowd to stay behind you. That would just be a recipe  for failure, particularly for those extremely bad actors who would like nothing more than to give the representation that  they're just fine and they're here to help and they're good citizens, and then they get behind our officers and then they do their bad act. And as the Commissioner said, you know, we recovered guns, we recovered all kinds of dangerous stuff. So I could go on and on but the bottom line is there's lessons learned and our folks are well trained, we're trained at all sorts of different places across the country. We have some of the best, I believe, field force  commanders in the nation.  We follow best practices. We train and we have good policy, but that doesn't mean that we don't learn from each one of these incidents.     

>>Governor Walz: I would follow up, Peter. Thank you, Colonel. I think  this is one of the concerns, and I agree, people picked up guns claiming to be reporters at the time of the minute of the attack and the confusion of all this. But I think what's really important to note on this is, and the after-action and the looking at this, those law enforcement folks were on that street and giving those orders because I used my authority and ordered them to be there. And I think one of the problems we have with this is, for so long, many communities have seen things that are truly not fogs of war, anything like that, truly  misconduct issues and they've heard, oh, well, we'll internally investigate and it will be fixed, that will be done. They don't have the faith in that. We know that. I trust this. I think what we need to change in part of this culture is that people are asking for justice and accountability. That's why I will once again say this, those officers were out there under my direction, which makes me the one who's accountable for making sure that those things are investigated. That if they do prove there was misconduct, that we do something. But I want to send a very clear signal, I supported the actions that were out there. I gave the order to go with them. Those folks need to know that we're there. And then to the public, there needs to make sure that when doing this again, just like I say, it is unacceptable what happened to our reporters, and I'll do everything that i'm getting feedback and asking, how do we change this situation, what can we do next time to make sure they're not there.

Unknown: Governor, you and several other public officials characterized what happened to George Floyd as murder. Are you worried at all about prejudicing the case or tainting potential jury pools, that sort of --   

Governor Walz: Well, first and foremost, the charge brought by the county attorney is murder. And I think as a human being, I have a very difficult time watching that and seeing that, but the answer is yes, I do worry about this. I worry because of my human emotion, the visceral response to the erasing of the humanity of George Floyd, which felt like erasing the humanity of all of us. We're human, and the emotions come forward. But I think one of the  problems we've had is that we haven't been willing to call things what they were and that created an ambiguity, and I think as people say, in any case I guess it would be, but the best analogy I have, if that would have been four civilians on another civilian, we wouldn't be having a debate at all whether that was murder, that's what it was. So, yes, I do worry about that. I need to be cautious about that. It goes back to the question about the special prosecutor. The laws there for a reason but I also think when a community sees us hiding behind process and patience, that adds to a lot of this. But it's a good question and I do. I'm sorry.  

Unknown: Do you want to see the other three officers charge? You mentioned waiting on the process does tend to rile people up. Do you think that will help calm tensions?  

Governor Walz: Well, yes, I think from what I've seen in all this, I do think that. I'll let the prosecutors and the folks decide. I do think that's warranted.  Do I think it will calm things? I think we may be getting to a closer point where the expectations of things being done and folks, -what I tell you will not calm, and Mayor Carter, Mayor Frey both articulated this very clearly, that primal scream for justice and change is going to be there. Will that be enough to take away the manifesting of the fires and all that? No, I saw an interview last night where somebody who was out past curfew but was passionate about what happened and was screaming at the people who were starting fires and doing those types of things. I think it would start to move us forward.  I think it would be naive to believe that it would stop some of this just by that because the folks who are doing a lot of that aren't interested in the prosecutions, but there are a large number that are.  Can we take one more with Esme?                            

Esme: Governor, a lot of viewers are asking me to ask you this question. How did Jay-Z get your phone number?  [laughter] What did he have to say to you? 

>> Governor Walz: Yeah, I got a text from Van Jones, who I had talked to before, and I'm not quite certain how he had my number, but I knew him, we had talked before. He said that Jay-Z would like to talk to me about this and he'd been speaking out on it and I had been taking calls. And I said, yes. He called and, as I said again, it's kind of a strange amongst all of this, but it was so incredibly human. It wasn't jay-z, international, you know, celebrity and well-known, it was a dad, and I think, quite honestly, a black man whose visceral pain of this that he knew. His words to me, and I want to be confidential, but to summarize what it was is, justice needs to be served here. Justice needs to be served. And i'm grateful that he said, he's been watching this on TV and he said he feels the compassion and the humanity of these folks who are speaking in a very difficult environment at the heart of this, all of these elected  officials who are here, and he knows that the world is watching. How Minnesota handles this is going to have an impact across the country. And I think that's what his expressions were.  And he was passionate, he was gracious, he was grateful. but I have to tell you, I think it's certainly a positive sign of someone of stature that has a presence like that, is focused in the moment of what Minnesotans are focused for, focused in the moment of all of those peaceful protesters down there on Lake Street, yesterday afternoon, and what they were expressing, that's what he was expressing. And then a very, quite honestly, deliberate ask along the same questions of how will this be prosecuted and can we trust that it will be done right.

Unknown: Governor, we do have to end there today.

Governor Walz: Well, thank you. We'll continue to brief as accurately as possible. Information about today's actions as far as curfew, road closings, things will be posted as soon as possible. And I ask Minnesotans to use this new day and sun to connect with your neighbor, to continue to build a community. Let's show the world what we know is the side of this state that we are so incredibly proud of.  So thank you. Thank you, Mayors. Thank you, Commissioner. Thank you, General. Thank you.

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