Pentagon orders active-duty police units on ready to deploy to Minneapolis: AP
The Pentagon on Friday reportedly took the rare step of ordering the Army to prepare several active-duty U.S. military police units to deploy to Minneapolis as widespread protests following the police killing of George Floyd continue to rattle the city.
The Associated Press reported Saturday that soldiers from North Carolina’s Fort Bragg and New York’s Fort Drum were instructed to be ready to deploy within four hours if called.
Soldiers at Colorado’s Fort Carson and Kansas’s Fort Riley were reportedly given similar instructions but were told they would have a 24-hour turnaround before deployment.
Two Defense Department officials said members of the police unit from Fort Drum were expected to travel to Minneapolis first. Other units were reportedly placed on a 30-minute recall alert early Saturday, an alert meaning they might have to return to their bases for deployment within that time frame.
If the units are called up, the AP noted that roughly 800 U.S. soldiers would be dispatched to the Minnesota city.
A senior Pentagon official told the outlet that military units would be deployed under the Insurrection Act of 1807, which was last used in 1992 during the riots in Los Angeles following the Rodney King trial.
Massive protests erupted in Minneapolis and across the country on Friday night over the death of Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in police custody after an officer was seen kneeling on his neck for an extended period during an arrest.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) this week activated the state’s National Guard after days of demonstrations in the city turned violent, with several buildings being set on fire and private property damaged and stores looted.
The AP reported, however, that the governor has not requested additional support from the Army.
“The Department has been in touch with the Governor and there is no request for Title 10 forces to support the Minnesota National Guard or state law enforcement,” a Pentagon spokesman told the outlet.
Title 10 is the U.S. law that governs the armed forces and would authorize active-duty military to operate within the U.S.
The AP reported that a White House spokesperson had said the deployment of active-duty military police was untrue. The Hill has reached out to the White House for additional comment.
The wire reported that President Trump requested the move in a phone call on Thursday night that included Defense Secretary Mark Esper.
”When the White House asks for options, someone opens the drawer and pulls them out so to speak.” the Pentagon official said.
Trump threatened to take military action early the next morning, tweeting, “These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen” while saying that he could order military action if the protests continue.
The president ended the tweet with “Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!”
The comments faced widespread backlash, and Twitter slapped a warning label on his tweet for violating policies “regarding the glorification of violence based on the historical context of the last line, its connection to violence, and the risk it could inspire similar actions today.”