Minnesota authorities, including Gov. Tim Walz, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter and Attorney General Keith Ellison alleged on Saturday that “outside forces” infiltrated the state in order to intentionally cause mayhem and panic, according to a report by MSNBC‘s Joy Reid on Twitter. The quartet held a press conference where they alleged those outside forces could be people from other states, but they hadn’t ruled out they were from other countries.
The Minnesota leaders reportedly claimed the mission of these people was to cause destruction in communities where the population is largely people of color. Ellison purportedly cited the widely circulated video of a white man wearing a gas mask and carrying an umbrella walking up to a store, breaking the windows, and walking off.
Gov. Walz said he called up the national guard for the first time in the 164-year history of Minnesota in response. He also reportedly said he’d reached out to the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense. Reid said the full mobilization of the state’s National Guard was a developing story and something likely to be echoed in other states over the next few days.
Minnesota officials also reportedly claimed the outside forces infiltrating the state changed the tenor of protests in regards to George Floyd’s death. Gov. Walz said on Tuesday, the protests were about sorrow and justice. He added the masks being worn was to protect people from COVID-19. Walz said later in the week that the masks became something people used to hide their identity.
To underline this point, Mayor Carter said every person arrested on Friday night was from out of state. Walz said the number was closer to 80 percent but agreed the majority of those arrested were from outside Minnesota. Walz also said authorities will begin releasing the names of the people they’ve identified as agitators. The state’s Department of Safety Commissioner John Harrington said law enforcement started contact tracing those arrested to see if they can determine who sent them.
As more proof that the people they’ve identified as agitators were there merely to cause mayhem, Carter claimed that police saw them throw incendiary devices, then run behind “legitimate” protestors and use them as “human shields.”
Minnesota authorities aren’t the only ones who believe that the protests, which spread from Minneapolis to other parts of the country on Friday night, are being led by outside organizers. In a string of early morning tweets, President Donald Trump also insinuated the protests were “very organized” and were being led by someone with ulterior motives.