50 people arrested in Minneapolis as hundreds more National Guard troops deployed
Hundreds more National Guard troops were deployed in the wake of widespread protests as well as looting and arson in Minneapolis on Friday night, with nearly 50 people arrested in the city.
More than 2,500 officers are in the city working to keep the peace, Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said during a press conference, CNN reported.
Harrington said the events have led to one of the largest police forces Minnesota has ever experienced, adding that resources are too thin to ward off the thousands of protesters estimated to be in attendance.
“We recognized that we simply did not, even with the numbers that I’m talking about, have enough officers and personnel to meet all of those missions safely and successfully. We picked missions based on our capacity,” Harrington said.
He added that the officers focused their efforts on downtown Minneapolis and the 5th Precinct area.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) said he was activating additional National Guard troops after thousands of people ignored the mayor’s curfew for Friday night aimed at curbing rioting.
Protests continued for a fourth night in Minneapolis over the death of George Floyd, whose death in police custody this week has sparked demonstrations across the country.
Major General Jon Jensen of the Minnesota National Guard said there could be more than 1,700 Guard troops in the area by Sunday.
“At the conclusion of tomorrow, I believe that we will have over 1,700 soldiers in support of the Department of Public Safety in the city of Minneapolis and the city of St. Paul,” Jensen said.
If fulfilled, a deployment of this magnitude would be the largest in Minnesota’s history.
Jensen added that some people might have heard that President Trump is directing the Pentagon to put U.S. Army soldiers on alert for a possible operation in the distressed city.
“While we were not consulted with as it relates to that, I do believe is a prudent move to provide other options available for the governor if the governor elects to use those resources,” Jensen said.