Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has activated his state’s National Guard in the wake of the George Floyd protests, according to a statement published by the office of Governor Tim Walz & Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan.
Protests in the streets have morphed into what some have reported as a seeming war zone, with stores burning and gun-toting citizens standing in the streets.
Walz announced that he has received requests from local leaders for resources to cope with the outrage in the streets this week after a video of the death of Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man, surfaced.
The governor signed the executive order saying that he’s bringing the troops to help protect Minnesotans’ safety and maintain peace in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
Minnesota Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan also commented on the need for the additional peacekeeping force.
“While many Minnesotans are taking extensive safety precautions while exercising their right to protest, the demonstration last night became incredibly unsafe for all involved… The purpose of the National Guard is to protect people, to protect people safely demonstrating, and to protect small business owners.”
In addition to the National Guard, Waltz announced that the Minnesota State Patrol, which includes about 200 troopers, will also be deployed to the smoldering streets in hopes of protecting the safety of Minnesotans.
Autozone and Target are on fire pic.twitter.com/GQ1vu8DJpx— Max Nesterak (@maxnesterak) May 28, 2020
Waltz was clear about understanding the desire of the protesters to effect change. The governor said he hopes to “always defend the right to protest.”
Flanagan added that she believed “the anger and grief of this moment is unbearable.”
“People deserve to be seen,” she said. “People deserve to be heard. People deserve to be safe.”
Protesters have demanded a change in law enforcement and punishment for the four officers involved in Floyd’s arrest and subsequent death.
According to a report by The Associated Press, the city of Minneapolis is expected to suffer its third night of looting, and many stores have begun to close early in anticipation of increased looting after dark.
The state’s governor called on the city to “rebuild” its justice system in the face of Floyd’s death, saying that he hopes the tragedy can lead to a better relationship between law enforcement and the community and not more “death and destruction.”
The Inquisitr previously reported that the situation on the streets had become so dire that self-described “heavily armed rednecks” have taken to the streets to stand between looters who would take advantage of the widespread protesting and thinly spread police force.
The concerned citizens were clear that their purpose was to keep both looters at bay and police accountable during the city’s destabilization.
“I figured it’s about damn time that some heavily armed rednecks stood with fellow citizens.”
Video footage of Floyd’s untimely death caused officials all the way up to President Donald Trump to promise action on the part of Floyd’s family.