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May 30, 2020 9:30 AM Press Conference Transcript

5/30/2020 5:30:19 PM

Governor Walz >> … 2:30 AM and provided an update of a highly dangerous and a rapidly evolving situation with folks bent on destroying property with no regard for safety of Minnesotans, and certainly no desire to make a statement other than wanting destruction and chaos. I want to thank the Minnesotans who abided by the curfew. I want to thank our responders who are out there protecting our cities as they were in taking incoming fire, improvised explosive devices, and a highly evolved and tightly controlled group of folks bent on adapting their tactics to make it as difficult as possible to maintain that order. My mission has been very clear to the folks in Minnesota in conjunction with Mayor Frey of Minneapolis, Mayor Carter of Saint Paul is protection of citizenry and property is our top priority, and maintaining and restoring civil order on the streets. I think what’s really important to recognize is the tactics and the approach that we have taken have evolved and need to evolve the same way, with a sensitivity to the legitimate rage and anger that came after what the world witnessed in the murder of George Floyd and was manifested in a very healthy gathering of community to memorialize that on Tuesday night, was still present to a certain degree on Wednesday. By Thursday, it was nearly gone. And last night is a mockery of pretending this is about George Floyd’s death, or inequities or historical traumas to our communities of color. Because our communities of color and our indigenous communities were out front fighting hand in hand to save businesses that took generations to build. Infrastructure and nonprofits that have served a struggling community were torn down and burned by people with no regard for what went into that. So let’s be very clear. The situation in Minneapolis is no longer in any way about the murder of George Floyd. It is about attacking civil society, instilling fear and disrupting our great cities. With that being the case, as we indicated last night, our tactics again, is to try and reduce loss of life, to do what we can to restore order. We mobilized the largest mobilization of National Guard that were in the field last night of over 700. We pulled in State patrol and State assets to augment Minneapolis’ and Saint Paul’s Force. And as I told people who are listening, this is not a infinite number of people that we can pull. The min-state patrol is a highly trained, highly organized force that when every single one of them is up and operating is at about 700. You can’t operate all the time on that. The same thing with the Minnesota National Guard, and of course, the cities. So as you saw this expand across the United States, and you start to see whether it be domestic terrorism, whether it be ideological extremist to fund the group, or whether it be international destabilization of how our country works, those elements are present in all of this. I spoke early this morning with the Secretary of Defense, Esper, and with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Milley, extensively to update on the situation, receive their situation report as they’re seeing it across the country, and to suggest courses of action of going forward. In consultation with the mayors and the resources they have … And just to be very clear as you witness this, whether it be New York, or Denver, or Louisville, or Las Vegas, there is no mayor in America that has the resources to push back on an organized attempt to destabilize civil society with no regard for life or property. So in consultation as a group and as we said this morning, I’m authorizing and talking to General Jensen to fully mobilize the Minnesota National Guard, an action that has never been taken in the 164 year history of the Minnesota National Guard. We will pull in assets as we have been doing. And for those Minnesotans who are wondering, “Where are the fire trucks? Where are the police that are out there?” The situation was so broad and the tactics were so bent on causing destruction that every single person we had mobilized … again, the largest in state history, last evening was engaged in that. By this afternoon, our hope is to exponentially have that force out there to use all other resources in the State and our partnerships of sister cities across there and counties to help us. I have made initial calls and will be speaking with the governors of adjacent States who were providing significant support through their National Guards. The message is clear, Minnesota. We had a tragedy on Monday night. We understand the work that we need to do and the generational pain that went into what happened with George Floyd in that murder. But at this point in time, nothing we do to address those inequities, nothing we do to provide justice to George Floyd and his family that I spoke with last evening, none of those things matter to any of these people who are out there firing upon National Guard, burning businesses of our communities and making intent on disrupting any semblance of civil life. So in partnership with the mayors and the team that is here, throughout the day today, there will be peaceful protests that were previously scheduled. They will be large as anticipated. And today will be an expression of that grief of the loss of George Floyd. There will be legitimate exercising of First Amendment rights. Every single person in this room will put all of these resources we’re talking about to protect their right to do that, to protect their right to gather as community. I will continue to stress because it seems a lifetime ago. We are still in the middle of a pandemic and past 1,000 deaths yesterday, we still have hospitals on the verge of being overrun with COVID-19. The folks that are gathering out there … And if you watch on Tuesday and Wednesday, social distancing masks. The masks last night were worn to disguise, they were not worn to try and do anything. The masks worn by people there were to cause confusion and take advantage of this situation. But the rest of us need to maintain that. For Minnesotans who are wondering and asking the legitimate question, the safety and concern, everyone in this room is up all night. The nightmare of these people having starting fires that can jump in arson. At this point in time, it is nothing short of a blessing that we have not had someone killed in an innocent bystander in this. That situation can be expected to deteriorate further with these people. As you’re going to hear from Commissioner Harrington, they are adapting, they are receiving information together. They are being fed by professionals in this and professional tactics in urban warfare, those types of things are happening with these people. And they, again as I said, they are getting what they want. They are getting on TV, they are seeing the images. They have the governor of Minnesota standing up here at 2:30 at night talking about how we’re moving things around, and they’re getting what they wish. But today, they’re going to get what they wish. They are going to have an overwhelming force of safety, security, and peace that the citizens of Minnesota and our surrounding neighbors are going to provide to that. They are going to see a coordination to the best of our ability to make sure that this stops and it ends. That is going to happen and I’m speaking with governors across the country who are in the same situation, trading information. Many cities are where we were on Wednesday night, and they’re expecting to be where we were on Thursday night. That is a situation that must stand. So Minnesotans, this is a challenging time. Our great cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul are under assault by people who do not share our values, who do not value life in the work that went into this, and certainly are not here to honor George Floyd. They need to see today that that line will stop and the order it needs to be restored. With that, I want to welcome up Mayor Jacob Frey, the Minneapolis Mayor, and someone who from the very beginning saw this before any mayor in the country and requested National Guard support earlier than any mayor in the country. And now the situation is requesting the next step of full mobilization, Mayor Frey.

Mayor Frey. >> Thank you, Governor. The show of force tonight has got to be about safety, security, peace, and order. Our Minneapolis residents are scared and rightfully so. We’ve seen long term institutional businesses overwritten, we’ve seen community institutions set on fire. I want to be very, very clear, the people that are doing this are not Minneapolis residents. They are coming in largely from outside of the city, from outside of the region to prey on everything that we have built over the last several decades. The dynamic has changed over the last several days. If you looked at Tuesday, it was largely peaceful protest. The vast majority peaceful, the vast majority of people from our city with a small group of people looking to have intentional disturbance. Gradually, that shift was made and we saw more and more people coming from outside of the city. We saw more and more people looking to cause violence in our communities, and I have to say it is not acceptable. If you’re concerned, I get it. If you have family members or friends that are even considering protesting, this is no longer about protesting. This is no longer about verbal expression. This is about violence, and we need to make sure that it stops. We’re in the middle of a pandemic right now. We have two crises that are sandwiched on top of one another. In order to make sure that we continue to have the necessary community institutions, we need to make sure that our businesses are protected, that they are safe and that they are secure. So to our Minneapolis residents, we are with you. We will be mobilizing the largest force that has ever come forward in the State of Minnesota history to help. We understand that you’re concerned, we want to be there for you. Thank you.

Governor Walz >> Thank you Mayor. Mayor Carter? 

Mayor Carter >>  Thank you, Mayor Frey. Thank you. What we’re experiencing right now is one of the most heartbreaking weeks in American history, certainly in Minnesotan history. We woke up at the beginning of this week to, as we all know, a disgusting disturbing video of Mr. George Floyd being wrongfully killed. He was unarmed, he was not aggressive, he begged for his life. He called for his mom as and bystanders screamed, this man is dying. And over the course of a 10 minute video, we see the life squeezed out of Mr. Floyd. Anger over his death is understandable. Sadness, pain, heartache, frustration is legitimate. We have in our community right now an enormous number of people of all ages, of all races, of all backgrounds who agree that Mr. Floyd should still be alive. We have in our community, an enormous number of people of all ages, of all races, of all backgrounds, of all neighborhoods who are looking to see not only one, but four, all four of the officers involved in his death be fully held accountable. We have an enormous number of people in our community who are heartbroken by the fact that the name George Floyd does not stand alone in history, but that it joins a too long and too rapidly growing lists of names of unarmed unaggressive African-American men who’ve lost their lives wrongfully at the hands of law enforcement. And the frustration that time and time again, we’ve seen no one held accountable. We have an enormous amount of legitimate frustration of people ask “When? How long will it take?” People who ask, “How egregious does it have to be?” People who ask, “How blatant does it … How well documented does it have to be for someone to be held accountable for George Floyd’s murder? That frustration, that pain is real and it’s legitimate. And so all of the people in our community who believe what I just said, who wholeheartedly need the world to hear that Mr. Floyd should be alive, that someone should be held accountable, and that we as a community, we as a culture, we as a society must do everything we can imagine to keep this from happening again, we stand with you. I stand with you. There are many, many ways for us to work together in a constructive manner that build our communities, that empowers our communities to speak up with a loud voice. The world is listening. There are opportunities for us to do that in a constructive manner. Unfortunately, there are also those among us who would seek to use this moment, who would seek to use his death as an excuse, as a cover to agitate for the destruction of those same communities that have been most traumatized by George Floyd’s death. Those same communities that have been most traumatized by the dual crisis of a COVID-19 pandemic and an economic crisis that we’re facing right now. Those same communities are being re-traumatized right now as our black owned barbershops, as our immigrant owned restaurants, as our local generational family owned businesses are damaged and destroyed night after night. This must stop. I know the governor, I know Mayor Frey myself, wholeheartedly support the right of people to protest, the right of free speech. For people to say what they believe about the world, to speak up and say, and participate in making this world a better place. That right to speak stops at destruction of lives, destruction of property, destruction of livelihood. In Saint Paul last night or across our Twin Cities, a curfew went into effect. Because we had a relative stillness in Saint Paul, we didn’t make an enormous number of arrests. But every single person we arrested last night, I’m told, was from out of state. What we are seeing right now is a group of people who are not from here. As I talked to my friends who have been in this movement for a very long time, who wake up in this movement every day and I ask them what they’re seeing, what they’re feeling, what they’re hearing to a person. I hear them say, “We don’t know these folks. We don’t know these folks who are agitating. We don’t know these folks who are inciting violence. We don’t know these folks who were first to break a window.” And those folks who are agitating and inciting are taking advantage of the pain, of the hurt, of the frustration, of the anger of the very real and legitimate sadness that so many of our community members feel to advocate for the destruction of our communities. I echo the governor’s statements, I echo the mayor’s statements in that our police officers, our firefighters are facing something they’ve never faced before. That alone would be very, very difficult to address. One thing that I’ve learned about the world, about Minnesota and certainly about Saint Paul is every time ugliness raises its head in our community, the beauty of community, that beautiful spirit that Paul Wellstone once spoke about when he said we all do better when we all do better, arises. Across the Twin Cities yesterday, across Saint Paul yesterday, we saw countless neighbors show up for each other. We saw people show up with a broom and a bucket, a rag to clean and just worked together. They weren’t cleaning their cousin’s store or their uncle’s store, they were just coming to help each other to clean up our city. Over the last couple of months, thanks to the fact that we in Minnesota have a governor who took strong action early to protect Minnesotans in this pandemic crisis, we showed that togetherness by staying home. We showed that togetherness by honoring the stay at home orders that our governor has executed. And those efforts resulted in saving lives in our community. Right now, today, this week in Minnesota, we must show that same sense of togetherness. We must show that same sense of unity. We must show that same sense of community and cohesion. As we stand forward to say, we will not accept the brutal killing of unarmed black men. We will not accept George Floyd’s death and we will not accept the destruction of our communities either. Those two things, those two values, those two goals are not in competition. They’re not in conflict with one another, actually, they’re one and the same. Thank you very much.

Governor Walz>> Thank you, Mayor Carter. Commissioner Harrington? 

Commissioner Harrington >> I’m John Harrington, the commissioner of department of public safety. Department of public safety was given the mission by Governor Tim Walz to restore order and to maintain and keep the peace. We have assembled the largest civil policing authority in the history of Minnesota. I’ve been in policing for 40 years and there has never been a time when I have had as many officers, deputies and state law enforcement officials come together for a single mission. We are working together under a unified command to make sure that we can be out there to keep the peace. But I will tell you that we have seen a change over the last couple of days. We have seen from the earliest demonstration, which were peaceful demonstrations that were largely demonstrations where people were trying to express the horror and the trauma of having Mr. Floyd’s life snuffed out. I’m not seeing peaceful demonstrations and I am not seeing frankly, any empathy or any heart for Mr. Floyd or for the communities that he loved and the communities he belonged to.  Last night, we saw not only a change in the temperament and the approach of what I will call rioters. They weren’t demonstrating for a cause, they were not protesting for injustice. They were simply bent on destruction of property and they were bent on trying to hurt people. And they didn’t really care who they hurt in the interim. We had multiple shots fired in both cities coming out of the rioters group. We had officers and National Guard officers, National Guard men and women shot at. We had improvised explosive devices used to injure state troopers, DNR, and others. We saw them break into post offices and we saw them try and destroy not only public property, but repeatedly set fires to private property with absolutely no – I mean this - absolutely no sense that there were people who… that was not just their shop. It was not just their business, but that was their home. That’s where their sweat and blood and life was based out of. And they burned it to the ground with no second thought. We also saw a shift in the numbers last night. As I said, we put together 2500 public safety folks, between National Guard and cops and state troopers and everybody else. That is an enormous number of law enforcement people. And we were confronted with tens of thousands of rioters. Let me repeat that. That little group that started out embedding themselves into George Lloyd’s memorial service is no longer the little group, it is in fact the group that is throwing projectiles, throwing batteries, firing into crowds and setting fires and attacking firefighters, EMS, law enforcement, Sheriff’s department, and national guardsmen as they seek to provide safety in our community. We have watched these groups grow both in craziness and we’ve watched them also grow in challenging approaches that we have had to adapt to. We have watched them take on efforts where literally there are 5000 of them surrounding a building, trashing the building, and then when confronted running back under the cover of darkness into residential areas. We have watched them try and destroy downtowns. And it’s hard to drive through one of our downtowns without seeing the plywood that’s up, whether it was as a preventative measure or simply to patch the holes that they had punctured into the buildings that support and are the anchors of our downtown areas. We are adapting to their tactics. We have made more arrests fortunately every day and we have focused on the fact that as this is not a protest, where this is not a demonstration, while that we will always, and I repeat always, respect everyone’s first amendment rights, those rights stop the end of a Molotov cocktail thrown into an open business. Those rights stop at the point that you loot the liquor store in the neighborhood, those rights stop when you loot the gas station, the little mom and pop gas station in the neighborhood. And Minnesota public safety and Minnesota’s National Guard are gearing up. We’re getting bigger and we are changing our approach because this is intolerable and we are coming to stop it. I don’t want anyone to make any mistakes about that. We will make sure that those folks that come out today that want to mourn Mr. Lloyd’s passing that their rights are in fact protected. But these rioters are in fact trampling on those rights by making it too dangerous for good people to speak their minds. And we cannot as a community, we cannot as Minnesotans, we cannot as members of the Twin Cities community tolerate that. So you can expect to see law enforcement, the national guard from state, county and local in lockstep tonight preventing, responding, rescuing and repelling attacks on our businesses, on our personal safety under the personal liberties of the Twin Cities area. At this time, we’d introduce General Jensen of the Minnesota National Guard.

General Jensen >>  Well, I don’t think I could speak with any more passion than the four gentlemen that just spoke in front of me. So what I will do is just give you a quick update on the last 48 hours of the Minnesota National Guard’s participation in this operation. 24 hours ago, we had approximately 400 guardsmen on state active duty in support of the governor’s executive order. As mentioned by the governor, yesterday we reached a part or reached a peak that the Minnesota national guard had never been at before, over 700 soldiers and airmen mobilized in support of the governor’s executive order. And while it was the largest mobilization and as Commissioner Harrington described, the largest law enforcement operation in Minnesota history, it was not enough.

Early yesterday, we began mobilizing additional soldiers and we expect by noon to have 2,500 soldiers and airmen mobilized and in support of the governor’s executive order. But that’s not enough. The governor just announced the full mobilization, the Minnesota national guard for the first time, since World War II, what does that mean? It means we’re all in. We’re all in with the two mayors to my left, their citizens, their communities that they represent. We’re all in to the two law enforcement professionals to my right, supporting them to ensure we bring stability and peace back to our two great cities. But even that’s not enough as governor Walz just laid out. We had a conversation with secretary of defense and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. We are requesting national level resources to come to the state to make key contributions to the operation that commissioner Harrington has laid out. So to our two mayors and to our law enforcement professionals and to your governor, the Minnesota National Guard is all in. 

Governor Walz >> Colonel Langer

Colonel Langer >>  Thank you, governor. I don’t intend on rehashing the ground that has been covered by all the folks up here saying the important things they said. But I do stand here as chief of the Minnesota state patrol to say that we have done something that we’ve never done in the history of our organization all the way back to 1929, in terms of the mobilization of our state troopers from all across Minnesota. That have come to the metro area to do whatever we can to get back to what we believe in as an organization and as the Minnesota state patrol. That we reflect our core values of respect, integrity, courage, honor, and excellence. That’s who we are and that’s who we believe Minnesota are too. Our job is to get out there in the middle of the mission that we’re confronted with right now to stop the criminal behavior that we have been seeing and to prevent the criminal behavior that we regretfully anticipate we will see tonight and into the near future. We’re working as hard as we can because I’ve heard from plenty of Minnesotans that they don’t like what they see. They don’t think that what is going on represents who we are in Minnesota and they want to help. So we need your support. We need your prayers, we need your thoughts as we work as hard as we possibly can to get Minnesota out of this current situation and stabilize. So that we can move forward and make the state what we believe it should be one that is safe for every single person who lives or visits this wonderful state. Thank you.

Governor Walz >>  Thank you, Colonel Langer. Minnesotans, before I take questions, I just like to… I think you got an assessment what’s on the ground. I am certainly not going to make light of the seriousness of where we’re at, for those who are wondering if we were timid or something happened. I think you need to understand even going into last night, this was the largest force and exhausted much of what we had going into that. The professionalism and the tactics were by the book. One of the things is when you’re a force of good and law and order you play by the rules. When you are bent on destruction and harm and chaos, you don’t have to do that and it makes it very, very difficult. I think it’s important to note too, that this call and the call up of the guard and the attempt to do this is only going to make it more difficult tonight.

The people listening do not see this as a deterrent. They are not somehow searching their soul and deciding that this was stupid and destructive and wrong of what they did. This is the challenge they were looking for. The call will go out to join and the call will be there to try and break the back of civil society and the people putting it forward. So Minnesotans, I’m not telling you and trying to make this any lighter. This is going to be very difficult and to set expectations, they will slip away and they will start fires. They will do that. No matter how many people we have on the ground with where they were at our goal is to decimate that force as quickly as possible, if they have, is to protect life, property, and restore that order, but they will bring everything that they have to this.

So I think it is very clear and I would make that statement and it will use social media. They will do whatever they want to do. Our expectation is to have the curfew in place. Our expectation is to restore order. It will be a dangerous situation on the streets tonight. We will do everything in our power to restore that order, that Minnesotans expect, that Minnesotans demand. But as each of these folks said, it is going to take all of us. I am grateful to our neighbors, our fellow Americans who are helping and who are sending prayers and thoughts.

To the fellow governors, I am grateful to the president and the administration for continuing to be on the line and offer and provide assistance when needed. I am most grateful to Minnesotans. We built this state, we built the north star. Everything that we believe in these people are trying to destroy. So if you are on the streets tonight, it is very clear, you are not with us, you do not share our values. We will use the full strength of goodness and righteousness to make sure that this ends. With that, I’d be glad to answer any questions along with the folks up here, Peter.

Peter (reporter) >>  Governor, can you be more specific about numbers. I don’t think you’re saying that 10,000 people who’ve come in from out of state or that every bit of violence was done by people who were coming in from out of state. So where does did that sort of crossover from earlier demonstrations to what’s going on now? And again, what kind of numbers are you talking about and what can you share 

Governor Walz  >>  Yeah, no, it’s a good question. Well, Peter’s question is about how do we know this? I want to just be very clear, as I said earlier in the week, this is not about saying, “Oh, this isn’t us, it’s everybody from everywhere else.” We understand that the catalyst for this was Minnesotans and Minnesotans, inability to deal with inequality, inequities, and quite honestly the racism that has persisted. I am not denying that, but what we’re at right now, and we’re trying to get numbers on this and I will try. What I’m asking the media to help us on, we’re going to start releasing who some of these people are, and they’ll be able to start tracing that history of where they’re at and what they’re doing on the dark web and how they’re organizing. But I’m not trying to say that.

I think our best estimate right now that I heard is about 20% is what we think are Minnesotans and about 80% are outside. So I’m not trying to deflect in any way. I’m not trying to say there aren’t Minnesotans amongst this group. We know that we have folks that may not be there too. But the vast majority right now and I think that the difference is, and this is where mayor Carter, mayor Frey spoke eloquently on this. Our heart and our solidarity are with folks who understand what happened Monday night to George Floyd, must see justice and we must fix. But these folks are not them. So that’s a good question and we’ll get more data. Peter, you want to follow up on that? All right. Yes, sir.

MPR >> Euan Kerr for Minnesota Public Radio. I mean, who are these people and what’s happening right now in terms of you going after them? 

Governor Walz >> Yeah, John, do you want to talk about that?

Commissioner Harrington >>  As began making arrests, we have begun analyzing the data of who we’ve arrested and begun actually doing what you would think is almost very similar to our COVID. It’s contact tracing of who are they associated with? What platforms are they advocating for? We have seen things like white supremacy, organizers who have posted things on platforms about coming to Minnesota. We are checking to see do the folks that we have made arrest on and that we have information. Are they connected to those platforms? We have seen flyers about protests, where folks have talked about they’re going to get their loot on tonight and we’re checking to see, are they part of an organized criminal organization? If so, what is that organization and how are they organized? We have been working with both our state, our county, our local, and our federal partners to start looking at issues around is this organized crime?

Is this an organized cell of terror? Where do these folks… Where’s the linkage? Is what we’re doing. So we are in the process right now of building that information network, building that intel effort. So that we can link these folks together, figure out what the organizations that have created this. And then just understand how do we go after them legally, that is absolutely part and parcel of our mission. We are in fact public safety and we recognize that there are legal issues that involved here. But we are not going to tolerate the violence and the destruction that they’re using as a cover for the other illegal activity.

MPR >>  Follow up, you said you’re going to release names, you’re going to release information. How will that happen? What form?

Governor Walz >> John?

Commissioner Harrington>>  I expect that we’ll be able to release some of the names of those folks that have been arrested and some of the background information that we have pulled together and we hope to be able to do that today.

Governor Walz >>  I think putting that in the media to, is the help on that. And the frustration we feel about who are they, why do they do this? It was one of the things I’ve asked them to, to get this out clearly. Next question, please.

Reporter >>  Governor, can you talk a bit more about your conversation with Secretary Esper this morning and what we might expect in terms of federal military assistance?

Governor Walz >>  Yeah. This is the second conversation in 24 hours with Defense Secretary Esper and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Milley. I was joined on that call by our leadership team, General Jensen, being the lead with military affairs. We’re looking at what are the resources they have or is there a signal intelligence that we can get from them? Are there things that they can provide us and then talking about the mechanisms that we use in the National Guard? I think it’s really important again, for folks to think about the uniqueness of our nation of protecting civil liberties is to make sure that civilian control of the military. And especially inside the United States is carried out by civilians, by citizen soldiers, by National Guard. This goes back to 1804 in the Insurrection Act. And when we redid it in 2007, I was the lead author of it in 2007. So I understand very clearly the militarization of a civilian population is a deep concern. That’s why we’re accessing and they’re helping us access all these assets through the National Guard in our surrounding States. They also were able to provide their intelligence support of what they’re seeing, what their signal intercepting they have, obviously from NSA and others, massive support, to be able to see who these operators are and I think for Minnesotans, as you saw this, and it’s been a 48 hours playing out, just thinking about this, the wars that we fought to protect our nation, the war on terrorism, all of that over the last 72 hours, these people have brought more destruction and more terror to Minnesota than anybody in our history. That’s who we’re up against. When you see them out there wearing a tee shirt or a baseball hat and walking down that is not who they are. That is not who this is. So I think it’s very clear to change your mindset as we’re changing ours and keeping that line again, of the respect for peaceful protesting. It has morphed over the last 48 hours. It is something very different. Yes.

Reporter >>  The curfew did little to stop the destruction that happened last night. You talking about how you’re going to change tactics and the amount of law enforcement that you have here. Yet, we have crews out all night. We didn’t see law enforcement till well after 11:00.

Governor Walz >>  Yeah. It’s a question I brought to you. It is a sheer numbers. I mean, there were more law enforcement and they were actively engaged as they would tell you, like no time in the 90 year history of that. That’s how big this was. One of the things about a curfew is much like I continue to say civil society is not maintained just by laws and the threat of punishments. It’s maintained by the sense of a social compact that we share the same values. What the curfew does is it gives us a legal authority to make the arrest of people who are out there to start separating that. So I would just be very clear to people tonight, I believe and I think setting the expectations on this, what you’ve seen in previous nights, I think will be dwarfed by what they will do tonight and if you are an innocent bystander going out there tonight, you will be swept up in this. We will do the best. But thinking about the logistics of arresting someone who is in a force wants to break the line. And what we’re talking about is under the tactics that they use. If we step into a crowd of someone who threw a Molotov cocktail at us, the minute you do that, they’re surrounding those folks. They’re making sure they’re cutting us off. They’re trying to escalate a situation where deadly force is used and then chaos ensues.

So the question about, are you out there? Have you put enough on there? Just to be very clear, the mayor of Minneapolis requested national guard support earlier than anybody in the country, national guard was mobilized at a level unseen in Minnesota history by Wednesday morning. The forces on the ground last night were dwarfing anything we’ve seen from riots from the Hormel strike, going back in Minnesota history. So you’re seeing the sheer numbers of where the protestors were at, and that is our job and what we’re doing today to pull in all these resources. But just to be very clear, those who say federalize and bring them in, you’re talking 

about 400 people under that scenario and also fundamentally changing how we go about policing and striking that balance. So if it were the case, throw everything at this, send out 100,000 people and go out and arrest every one of these people, that’s the situation you would see on the streets. So there has to be tactical. It has to be with the support. We have to get the help from the public to making sure that if you are not involved in this… And what I would ask today is if you know where these people are sleeping today, let us know, and we will execute warrants. Let us know if there’s someone that’s there to do this, start talking it back. If you know someone was down there protesting, help us, help us. Call that in and tell us who they were. They’re not from Minneapolis, but they’re staying down here. They’re doing this. They’re coming in. Next question. Yes.

Reporter >>  A couple questions. How many arrests have been made so far? And how would you attempt to go about enforcing the curfew, putting law enforcement in harm’s way in this situation?

Governor Walz >>  I’ll say this for the Commissioner before he comes up here. And this is one again, as I think all of us as being as transparent as possible, I’m speaking to Minnesotans now about articulating a plan. Some of this is going to be the tactics that we use. These folks are very smart. If I tell exactly, and he tells you, they will adjust and they will adapt. We changed in two nights, they changed with us. So I’ll let John talk about the number of arrests and maybe some of the basic techniques you’re seeing.

Commissioner Harrington >>  On the St. Paul side, as best, and these are all preliminary numbers we had around 20 arrests made on the St. Paul side. Over half of those were for burglary. And when we talk about burglary, if you can think about those grocery stores and those Walgreens and all of the liquor stores and the pharmacies that have been broken into. As you look at all the plywood, that’s up and about, they were significant numbers for burglary. And then there was about a third of that total was for curfew violations in addition to that. On the Minneapolis side, I believe there was once again, close to 20, I think between 15 and 20 there. And once again, much of that was for curfew violations and/or for destruction of property. So that that’s the numbers we have so far. We recognize that’s only essentially St. Paul and Minneapolis. We really need to get both Hennepin County booking numbers, Ramsey County booking numbers, and we recognize that as there were, firebombings done throughout the Metro area, that we’re going to have to tap into Washington, Dakota, Anoka County also because we understand that they also had crimes committed in their jurisdictions. 

Peter (reporter) >>  Do the Mayors agree that anyone out tonight after eight o’clock is aiding and abetting these folks and providing cover for these folks? And are you telling legitimate protestors to not help provide cover?

Mayor Frey >> Peter, I didn’t catch the second part of your question there.

Peter >>  Are you telling folks in your cities that they are providing cover for this activity when they’re out after curfew and that they should stop doing that?

Mayor Frey >>  Yes. By being out tonight, you are most definitely helping those who seek to wrong our City. And let me be clear about this curfew. The people in our City, the residents of Minneapolis, they are not abiding by the curfew because they don’t want to get arrested. They’re abiding by the curfew because they understand that it’s the right thing to do for our City. Londoners during World War I and World War II didn’t turn off their lights because the government told them to, they turned off their lights because they recognized it was the right thing to do for their city and in their country. And that’s exactly the same thing as to what we’re seeing right here. Let me be clear about the numbers that we’ve seen. Early on, there were so many questions about why don’t we just arrest our way out of this, on Wednesday and Thursday. And why don’t we have an officer placed at each and every business? If we were to place an officer at all of the businesses that we were seeing getting attacked and looted, it would be one officer facing, in some instances, 100 people coming in. If they were to arrest one, the other 99 walk right by. We certainly don’t want to incite additional violence by triggering some form of force. And so this became a very difficult situation that was not about planning or strategy, but about math. I want to be very clear. We did not have the numbers early on. This was about math. On Wednesday afternoon, I called the Governor as soon as I heard from our Chief Arradondo and requested assistance from the National Guard. We are very appreciative to have those resources. We definitely need the numbers because we can’t do it alone. And now that we do have a very concerted and unified contingent right now. And so tonight, yes, most definitely abide by the curfew. We’ll need everybody complying. 

Mayor Carter >> Can I respond to that? 

Governor Walz >>  Sure.

Mayor Carter >>  Yes. Thank you. And I think we’ve all made the distinction that there are people who are seeking to peacefully protest, and there are other people who are agitators, who are seeking to agitate and incite violence. The problem that we’re hearing from a lot of our friends who have been in the movement here in Minnesota for a very long time, is that you have somebody who will go forward and break a window, or try to start a fire or something. And as the Governor mentioned, then go run back behind the people who were trying to peacefully protest and use them essentially as human shields.

I hear people saying, “The curfew didn’t work to stop the incidents that happened last night.” To be clear, I don’t think there’s an expectation that people who are here from out of town to incite violence are going to say, “Oh, shoot, we can’t go out there because the Mayor implemented a eight o’clock curfew.”

What that’s designed to do is separate those well-meaning community members who are heartbroken, who are feeling legitimate anger and sadness, and ask them, as the Mayor just said, to stay home. To stay out of that so that we can separate who are the people in our community who are hurting, who need to be able to peacefully express their First Amendment rights from who are the people in our community who are looking to break a window or start a fire or create destruction in our communities.

So I would echo exactly what the Mayor just said, just by virtue of being out in that space, just by virtue of being a part of a crowd that the people who would hope to destroy our communities can hide in. That yes, would be aiding those who are attempting to destroy communities. That’s the purpose of the curfew. Thank you.

Governor Walz >>  Thank you. 

We will gather at noon. I would ask this before we go. We’ll gather at noon. One second, please.

We’ll gather at noon with civil rights leaders, members of this movement, folks who understand this clearly and have them speak to you too about this very question. I’m sorry, please go ahead.

Reporter >>  One more follow up question. Very important, if possible. When you talk about full mobilization, how many National Guard Troops are you willing to accept, have you asked for? Can we get specific?

Governor Walz >>  This might be a distinction on when you’re in the Guard and when you’re ready to deploy.

General Jensen >>  Yeah. We have approximately 13,200 Minnesota Guardsman. Not all of them are not qualified to be fully mobilized because they haven’t conducted Basic Training or their Military Occupational Skill Training. But when the Governor tasked me this morning with full mobilization, his expectation is that every soldier and airman, regardless of job, of military job is available for this operation. So at this time I don’t have a number to give you. The top end, as I mentioned, 13,200. The bottom end is where we are right now, 2,400. So it’ll be in between those two numbers as we work through this. Thank you.

Reporter >>  So the President has offered Federal Troops to come in. Has he been consulted with you on that and are you going to accept it? And what kind of a precedent is that going to set?

Governor Walz >>  Yeah. And that was going back to an earlier question. The question of the President offering that, and this has happened before of where they put their 82nd Airborne and some of those on readiness. Yes, we’ve been consulted early. I spoke to the President himself two days ago, have spoken twice with Secretary Esper and Joint Chief of Staff Chairman Milley, along with the guidance of General Jensen about what that would look like. As I said earlier, the resources there provide us in material resources. There is a mechanism with the National Guard which we are relying on, which is quicker and better and much easier to do is to rely on our state partners around us to provide that. Federal Troops again, not from the community, and I think for people to think about this, they’re not talking about mobilizing the entire United States Army. We’re probably talking in the neighbor of several hundred. We can get more troops quicker than that by doing this. But that is an option that was put out there and it’s support that goes with us. At this time, Minnesotans, we will be back here. We’ll bring some faith leaders to talk to you about it. We have planned demonstrations today, true demonstrations, true expressions of grief, true calls to heal our community and work. We will be out there. And the folks that are here will be out there to support that and protect that and honor that right. But we’re asking those people as soon as those are done to disperse, to be out of the area and to not do what the Mayors both clearly and eloquently, and I would associate myself exactly with them, if you’re out after eight o’clock, you are aiding and abetting these folks. You are helping make it easier for them. And you’re giving them the cover that exactly they want. So Minnesotans, this is an unprecedented time we’re in, it may be an unprecedented time in American history. To my fellow Governors who are experiencing this, and the Mayors, we stand with you as Americans who value decency, who value community, who value the rule of law. And we stand together. This is an opportunity for our nation to truly become united about this, to isolate those folks who meant to bring us harm and to learn from this experience and become stronger. We’ll be back with you shortly. Thank you. Thank you, Mayors.

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