Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on Thursday signed an executive order to call up National Guard “to help protect Minnesotans’ safety and maintain peace" in Minneapolis following the death of George Floyd.
The Democratic governor said local officers had asked for the troops once the demonstrations got violent.
“It is time to rebuild. Rebuild the city, rebuild our justice system, and rebuild the relationship between law enforcement and those they’re charged to protect. George Floyd’s death should lead to justice and systemic change, not more death and destruction," Walz said in a statement.
“The purpose of the National Guard is to protect people, to protect people safely demonstrating, and to protect small business owners.”
Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died on Monday while in police custody. A viral video showed a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on the neck of Floyd while he was handcuffed saying he couldn't breathe.
The officer who kneeled on Floyd's neck, along with three other officers who responded to the incident, were fired. The mayor and other officials want those officers to be charged for Floyd's death.
During his announcement, Walz said "the anger and grief of this moment is unbearable," adding he will "always defend the right to protest."
"People deserve to be seen," Walz said. "People deserve to be heard. People deserve to be safe."
Walz also said roughly 200 Minnesota State Patrol troopers will be on the scene to contain protestors over the next few days.
Since Tuesday, Minneapolis has experiences looting, fires and riots as a result of outrage over Floyd's death.
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