May 30, 2020
Gov. Tim Walz & Mayor Jacob Frey Press Conference During 4th Night of Protests
On the late night/early morning of a fourth night of protests in Minneapolis and across the country, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey held a press conference. Full transcript here.
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Governor Tim Walz: (00:45)
… Minneapolis St. Paul and our joint powers agreements are assisting. The situation is incredibly dangerous. The situation is fluid. It is dynamic. I would, first of all, thank all Minnesotans who chose to protect our cities, who chose to protect their neighbors and stay home. Thank you for that. To all of the first responders who are out there, from firefighters to National Guard, to line crews, to utilities workers who are out there to keep us safe, I want to thank you for that.
Governor Tim Walz: (01:21)
Law enforcement is responding that the best they can in this situation. We’ll get you all of the numbers that are out there. I want to say, first of all, I myself can fully understand the rage. I spoke this evening to George Floyd’s siblings, quite extensively. I understand that rage. We’ve talked about it. We understand what has to happen.
Governor Tim Walz: (01:45)
What’s going on out there right now is not that. The wanton destruction, and specifically of ethnic businesses that took generations to build, are being torn down. All of those infrastructures of civil society and the things that make our city great, which lends me to believe as we look at this, the disenfranchisement that went with what we witnessed with George’s death is one thing, but the absolute chaos, this is not grieving. And this is not making a statement that we fully acknowledged needs to be fixed.
Governor Tim Walz: (02:27)
This is life threatening, dangerous to the most well-qualified forces that are out there facing this. So I want to acknowledge that. I’m deeply concerned with the people who need… You need to go home. You need to go home. The purpose of this, and we’re seeing it spread up across the country is making it more difficult to get to the point where we can deal with these issues.
Governor Tim Walz: (02:51)
Our neighbors are afraid. People are watching this across there and they want to know what’s happening. We promised you today, and I want to thank Mayor Frey for the leadership today. And I think the issue of coordination and communicating together, this is the largest civilian deployment in Minnesota history that we have out there today. And quite candidly right now, we do not have the numbers. We cannot arrest people when we’re trying to hold ground because of the sheer size, the dynamics and the wanton violence that’s coming out there.
Governor Tim Walz: (03:19)
Colonel Langer spoke about this often, of seasoned folks who have also deployed overseas and seen this and now seeing this here in our neighborhoods. We will talk about ways and the resources that we have left, but to put this into perspective, the force that we have out there now is about three times larger than the one in the ’60s, which was the largest during the race riots. And they’re out there right now and the capacity to be able to do offensive action… And they’re out there doing that, arresting the folks that we can, but as you’ve seen, there’s already a shots being fired back at our people.
Governor Tim Walz: (03:52)
This arson that is taking place puts many people at risk. Our firefighters are specifically and very open to target and Minneapolis Fire has been responding heroically. And I tell you all the citizens, the response time is fast as we want to get it. And that responsibility, as I said today, for coordination lies with us. I will take responsibility for the underestimating the wanton destruction and the size of this crowd.
Governor Tim Walz: (04:16)
We have deployed a force that I think as we sat down together and talked about, would have in any other civilian police operation, worked. But the terrifying thing is to hear people who’ve seen this and myself of looking at this, it resembles more of a military operation at times now as especially ringleaders moving from place to place.
Governor Tim Walz: (04:36)
So I would ask all of us to again, go home to protect our assets, understanding that the priority of this mission today and the plan to do it was, was to deploy the assets that we had to work in coordination and beef up what we had to do very, very quickly in command and control of those, put a joint force together to first and foremost, protect life. Followed by protecting property. Followed by restoring order.
Governor Tim Walz: (05:02)
And the issue as I’ve said this time and time again, whether it was something that now seems so simple to do stay at home orders about COVID, is to try and get the situation under control to protect all those things. But there is a compact that goes in civilized society that you have to have social buy-in. And so with the elements that are out there now, they’re stopping semis by blocking roads and then raiding what’s in them. This is not about George’s death. This is not about inequities that were real. This is about chaos being caused. And so my responsibility on this, and I do want to thank the Mayor. Executing a plan is very difficult, and I think the frustrations we all feel certainly isn’t aimed at the Mayor. He’s performing admirably and doing everything possible. I accept that responsibility. He’s here today asking and calling hourly, “Where can we move? How do we coordinate?”
Governor Tim Walz: (05:55)
So Mayor Frye, I want to thank you. The same thing with Mayor Carter of executing together. This is an operation that has never been done in Minnesota. The scope of this has now reached globally, or excuse me, across the nation. We were in contact today and had an extensive conversation, General Jensen, commissioner Harrington and I, with the Secretary of Defense and General Milley, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to talk about assets and a way that we can help to assess the situation as they’re seeing it on the ground. And to put those things into a plan to operate today. That plan is not changing.
Governor Tim Walz: (06:27)
Our folks are out there as we speak right now, doing this. Our intention is still to do those very same things, protect the lives of Minnesotans, to try and protect as much property as we can, and try to restore order on the streets. I have to do that in a way that protects those who are out there doing that, to ask them to go in a forward motion, to try and get some of these people. They are well coordinated. They will flank these groups. They will do everything possible to cause that destruction. So with that being said, I’m going to have Mayor Frey come up. We’ll have our folks talk about it. And we’ll talk about what the next steps are, because I want to be clear, we’re about 72 hours into this.
Governor Tim Walz: (07:04)
The Mayor’s quick action of activating the National Guard, I believe protect as much as we could. I think now, as we think about this and we’re this far into this, it seems almost impossible it was two days ago from an accusation we went today of planning tonight for what tomorrow is going to look like because I think Minnesotans need to recognize, and we clearly recognize this. What you see tonight will replicate tomorrow, unless we change something in what we’re doing.
Governor Tim Walz: (07:28)
We changed that today in a way that was unprecedented in the amount of numbers, the execution of the plan and the quality of the first responders who are out there. You have veterans of combat tours overseas. You have state patrol who are seasoned. You have local police and firefighters who have been doing this for decades and are the best at what they do. They’re just not used to doing it where you have wanton destruction.
Governor Tim Walz: (07:54)
And the challenge that we face and the challenge that the Mayor faces is we have to do it with ensuring the safety of those people. Ensuring that there are legitimate people who earlier want to try and express their grief. The folks who are out there right now want nothing more than entice into conflict, entice something that sets us off even further, entices our folks to get in a situation where we start to lose life.
Governor Tim Walz: (08:20)
And so that adds the complexity to it. If it were as simple as just push them and move them back, that would be one thing. They cannot do that. So I want to just reiterate that Minnesotans deserve a plan to try and get this. We need to assess that with all of the tools that we have with the experience that we’ve seen in this.
Governor Tim Walz: (08:40)
We are certainly in contact with our neighboring states and cooperations, as well as the Federal Government to think about the best way to do this. The situation tomorrow will be increasingly more difficult because this has spread to other cities in a serious way, which makes the challenge of civil order even that much more difficult.
Governor Tim Walz: (08:58)
But I do want to just clarify to my friend and someone who’s led in this and a Mayor who should never be put in a position that he was put in to try and respond. There are a limited number of resources that any city has, and this force that’s out there right now, bent on this, is simply overwhelming what we have on the ground. And so at this point it becomes more of a hold what we have and do the best we can.
Governor Tim Walz: (09:22)
So I want to thank you, Mayor Frey. I want to thank you for basically being up for 72 hours and every minute picking up the phone and continuing to adapt to this situation. So Mayor…
Mayor Jacob Frey: (09:35)
Thank you, Governor, and thank you for the command and control today and the partnership. Minneapolis, I know you are reeling. Due to lack of sleep and heartbreak for seeing the events over the last couple of days, I’m reeling too. We as a City are so much more than this. We as a City can be so much better than this.
Mayor Jacob Frey: (10:10)
There is no honor in burning down your City. There is no pride in looting local businesses that have become institutions of a neighborhood. These are institutions that people are counting on, especially during a time of pandemic. They’re counting on grocery stores to get food. They’re counting on pharmacies to get medicine. They’re counting on their local bank to get cash. If you care about your community, you’ve got to put this to an end. It needs to stop.
Mayor Jacob Frey: (10:59)
You’re not getting back at the police officer that tragically killed George Floyd by looting a town. You’re not getting back at anybody. If you have a friend or a family member that is out right now, call them, tell them to come home. It is not safe. It is not right. If we care about our City, let’s do the right thing now.
Mayor Jacob Frey: (11:38)
We are doing absolutely everything we can. Our firefighters are hauling around the City putting out fires as quickly as they possibly can. Our police officers are doing everything to secure corridors to make sure that the looting stops and to try and prevent these necessary precincts, which are so essential to safety.
Speaker 1: (12:03)
And prevent these necessary precincts, which are so essential to safety. Right now, Chief Arradondo and Chief Friedel are in Minneapolis doing everything they possibly can.
Speaker 1: (12:15)
As I said in the beginning, I am reeling. And I know each and every one of you is too. Let’s do right by our city. Let’s do right by our communities. And let’s put ourselves in a position five and 10 years from now where we look back at this day, and we recognize that this was the point where we decided to make a change. I know in my heart that we can do it because I know in my heart that Minneapolis is everything that we believe it to be. Thank you.
Off camera speaker: (13:03)
John Harrington: (13:07)
Commissioner John Harrington, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. Yesterday, we put together a unified command structure and a unified command bringing together Minneapolis police department, St. Paul police department, Hennepin, County Ramsey County, Sheriff’s departments, Minnesota state patrol, DNR, and General Jensen’s men and women of the Minnesota National Guard. We created a plan that brought together one of the largest civil police forces that we have ever seen in the state of Minnesota, larger frankly, than we had for the Republican National Convention even, with well in excess of 2,500 officers total committed to the effort of keeping the peace. We had a very clear mission. The governor was crystal clear, and the mayors have been crystal clear that our mission was to keep the peace, to maintain order and to stop lawless behavior.
John Harrington: (14:14)
By 8:00 last night, we began to see that we were going to have to operate on multiple different fronts of criminal behavior with reports from St. Paul that they were actively engaged, reports that we had individuals that were breaching the Minnesota freeways around 35 W, that we had crowds of in excess of 2000 in the Lake Street area, East of Hiawatha, crowds of hundreds in the area of Nicollet and Lake Street, and crowds of a thousand or more in downtown. We reassessed the assets that we had, the personnel that we had, and redeployed to try and be as many of those as we could be at. But we recognize 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. And those missions focused on downtown off of Nicollet and also focused on the fifth precinct area of Nicollet and Lake.
John Harrington: (15:42)
We continue to hold our critical infrastructures around other places that we believed through good intel that were being targeted and would have been destroyed. And we have continued to hold those places of critical infrastructure even as we speak. At the Nicollet and Lake area, our mobile field forces were able to rally around that area. They were able to disperse the crowd and make what I’m told is in the neighborhood of about 50 arrests. We have a mobile field force of in excess of 300 larger than the mobile field force that we utilized last night to clear the Hiawatha and East Lake street area. And they have been actively engaged, but the level of resistance that we have seen tonight has increased exponentially. We have had officers shot at. We have had what looks to be at like improvised munitions that have been targeted toward the officers. We have had officers injured. And we are continuing to push that crowd on East of Hiawatha with the attempt to try and do what we did last night, which was to move them off of the streets and to restore order there.
John Harrington: (17:12)
But we recognize that as we do that, continuing to hold the area at Nicollet and Lake, and try and maintain order in downtown, that we will need far more officers and far more National Guard resources than we currently have. We have created a request for the National Guard to substantially increase the number of National Guard officers that would be available. And we have reassessed our strategy in terms of our ability to mobilize mobile field forces that have been effective in moving against what is now an armed and more entrenched group of protestors, and what I would really operate and say more that they are an entrenched group of rioters.
John Harrington: (18:08)
We have had officers that have been injured, none seriously at this point, but we have not given up our efforts to try and clear those streets. We will not give up our efforts to clear those streets. We are committed to restoring order in Minneapolis, helping St. Paul maintain order. And we’re getting ready for what will be one of the largest crowds that we have ever heard. And we recognize that we will be at the center of a, not just statewide event, not just a national event, but what is now looking to be like an international event tomorrow in that same area that we’re holding right now, in the area around Nicollet and Lake.
John Harrington: (18:55)
At this time, I asked General John Jensen of Minnesota National Guard to provide his comments.
General John Jensen: (19:13)
Good morning, Major General John Jensen. I’m the adjunct general of the Minnesota National Guard. Just very quickly, I’d like to cover some quick operations that we are involved in. Currently in Minneapolis, we currently have escorted and are supporting three Minneapolis fire department teams on fires, Chicago and Lake, Lake and Park, and Nicollet and 31st street. So we continue our support to the Minneapolis fire department that we began yesterday.
General John Jensen: (19:46)
We also have over a hundred soldiers currently at Nicollet Mall between Hyatt Hotel and Grant Street, supporting traffic control points in support of our state highway patrol. This morning at approximately 12:30, I believe, in cooperation and in consultation with Colonel Matt Langer, the Commander of the Minnesota State Patrol, the Governor authorized the Minnesota National Guard to increase our strength. The initial request was for 1000 additional soldiers to support the Department of Public Safety and our state highway patrol.
General John Jensen: (20:37)
Governor Walz and I have looked at different ways that we’re going to mobilize this force. And currently what we’re going to use are units that who would normally report to their normal training this weekend. My belief is that we will exceed the 1000 mark. As the Governor mentioned, this will be the largest deployment inside the state of Minnesota in history.
General John Jensen: (21:01)
At the conclusion of tomorrow, I believe that we will have over 1700 soldiers in support of the Department of Public Safety, the city of Minneapolis and the city of St. Paul.
General John Jensen: (21:17)
You may have seen or heard that this evening, the President directed the Pentagon to put units of United States Army on alert to possible operation in Minneapolis. While we were not consulted with as it relates to that, I do believe it’s a prudent move to provide other options available for the Governor, if the Governor elects to use those resources.
General John Jensen: (21:50)
So at this time, Governor, completes my comments. Thank you.
Governor Tim Walz: (21:55)
Thank you, General Jensen. Thank you, commissioner. The situation now is, is the movement, and I think Minnesotans who maybe don’t understand this of the force structure we have, some of this of course classified, but where Minnesota soldiers are deployed overseas and in support of missions. And that is a limited force because the National Guard is what it is in states. And when we talk about calling up the National Guard, it’s not like pulling something off a shelf, and it’s there. This is a human being citizen soldier who’s out there working across the state from Roseau to Wynonna. And they get called in. They need to gather equipment and make their things, put their things in order, report to their armory, staff up and start understanding where their mission is. So it is not as easy as it might seem.
Governor Tim Walz: (22:46)
These deployment levels are reaching deployment levels when we deploy overseas in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and some of those types of operations. So the mission remains the same, to restore order, to protect life and property to the best we can. We are in close coordination, other than this move by the White House to do that. And I agree with General Jensen.
Governor Tim Walz: (23:09)
As I spoke with President Trump the other night, I think it is prudent to have them ready for us to exhaust all resources that we need. And again, General Milley was quite extensive. And we spent quite some time thinking about where those assets are. And they also have to now understand what our federal assets are into an ever widening situation when we’re losing police precincts in Brooklyn and some of this unrest spreading in across the country.
Governor Tim Walz: (23:35)
So what I would say, Minnesotans, once again, an unprecedented threat to our state, a tragedy that was the catalyst for this, that has morphed into something much different. The challenges of protecting people who, wanton destruction is their goal, no regard to life or property, and no sense of civic pride of who we are. That;s what these folks are up against in a quite dangerous environment.
Governor Tim Walz: (24:03)
Folks are up against in a quite dangerous environment. So I would once again thank Minnesotans who stayed home. Thanks for looking out for one another. Our goal is to do everything that we can to start to restore order and working with our partners on this. And as I said today, once this became a unified command starting last evening, that’s the state of Minnesota and with me. With that, Tom.
Governor, for the second night in a row, hundreds of thousands or maybe millions of Minnesotans and Americans are watching on television as fires burn, buildings are looted, people of Minneapolis in danger, and they don’t see the National Guard, they don’t see law enforcement. I know you say they’re out there, but if people are not seeing them and they’re not hearing from their leaders and it goes on for hours and hours and nobody knows what is going on. What can you tell me? Are people just missing it on television or are we missing [crosstalk 00:00:58]?
Governor Tim Walz: (24:58)
There’s simply more of them than us and the operation is so much broader. We are out there, I can assure you. They are in heated confrontations that are putting folks at risk. We are prioritizing those critical assets, and I know the heartbreak that brings to people when the business that you fought your life for to try and get burns down, that seems like a pretty damn critical asset to you. We’re protecting the Federal Reserve. We’re protecting those infrastructures downtown. We’re protecting power stations and things like that. But they’re out there. And as I said, this is the largest single deployment in the state’s history. This is certainly not a group that slacks off, these are the best trained in the country. They are war-hardened and they have been out there on many times, as far as National Guard and the police that are out there and the firefighters. It’s simply that broad.
Governor Tim Walz: (25:49)
We have to prioritize, we have to triage. It is a horrible predicament. I can tell you this, Tom, I want every one of those fires put out immediately. I wished it would not happen. We’re trying to use all the tools that we had. Fact of the matter is on this, we ask people, we put a stay at home order in, and they don’t give one damn about that. And they are out there now to cause as much damage as they can. Our goal is to create the plan that stops it the best we can, to assess, and in this case assess and bring on those troops.
Were you surprised that people seem to completely ignore the 8:00 curfew? For the most part, the people who were causing the destruction, didn’t give it a second thought.
Governor Tim Walz: (26:31)
I don’t know if surprised, I’m deeply disappointed. I think when you do one of these things, the assessment was is the folks who were truly grieving and the folks who have been pent up and wanted to get outside, and there was a sense of somewhat excitement about it when it wasn’t there, our thought was, as those folks, that there would not be casual observers on this. The number who are now here and are continuing to grow here is pretty staggering. So deeply disappointed. Again, I don’t know if surprised, but it’s pretty shocking to me the number that that didn’t do anything.
Governor Tim Walz: (27:08)
I think anytime you do one of these things, you have to be careful that that’s not a catalyst in itself. Oh, I’m going to break the curfew because that gives me something to do with that. I talked about this this morning. The minute I put someone out there, these are folks that have made credible threats that the FBI is on of targeting a National Guard soldier and wanting to find glory in killing one of our citizens soldiers. That’s the type of person that’s out there right now, and that.
Can you walk us through a timeline? What was the plan initially, and then if you can address, there were reports a council member in Minneapolis at one point said the National Guard has been pulled by-
Governor Tim Walz: (27:45)
Was the guard ever redirected back out?
Governor Tim Walz: (27:51)
Can you explain, from the initial plan, what then happened [crosstalk 00:03:56]?
Governor Tim Walz: (27:55)
Yeah. And I’ll have General Jensen on this. This is a battle plan of what goes. And most of you know they would be great to execute it perfectly if the folks you were doing against did exactly what you wanted. But the minute you do it, everything changes. And with that goal that was out there and with the sheer numbers that got out there, they have to make real time movements. And I think this idea that the National Guard is nowhere, they’re not back, they are fully engaged the entire time. It is so broad, it is stretched across such a broad area. So General Jensen, you can talk about it.
General Jensen: (28:27)
So that force that was on Lake Street arrived yesterday morning with the Minnesota State Patrol. They secured their location throughout the day. This evening, in support of the State Patrol, they continued their operations. There came a point this evening where the recommendation from the police officers that they were in direct support of were to leave the area and to leave the area immediately. And so they followed those directions and followed their police brothers and sisters out of the area. Our team then went and reoccupied an assembly area where they could, what we would call, reconstitute and reorganize and prepare for a follow on mission. The force never left Minneapolis. They remained in Minneapolis. And they have been redirected in support of the Department of Public Safety. The mission I just mentioned on Nicolet is where that force was relocated to, and they remain there.
If I could ask perhaps all three of you this question four. We’re hearing reports that it’s not only the criminal element that was here the last couple of nights, but now some white supremacists have come to Minnesota and are causing some of the destruction. Can you address, are there white supremacists causing destruction in the city?
Governor Tim Walz: (29:55)
Yeah. Well, the unconfirmed reports, and again, we’re trying to get that, but we’ve got intel from all the different agencies. Of course, this is where the federal government helps us with some of this. I certainly can’t confirm personally on this. My suspicions and what I’ve seen on this, yes, it gets worse than that. The cartels who are wondering that it was a break in their drug transmissions, are trying to take advantage of the chaos that’s there too. That’s why this situation is on a federal level. You’re seeing it highly coordinated across the country, so that will happen. And I think this is the conversation we’re having with the president, that we’re having together here to be very clear with Minnesotans and the dangerous situation.
Governor Tim Walz: (30:34)
Of those who are going to legitimately grieve George Floyd’s death are going to gather here. It is a highly volatile situation. And these folks who want to do this, blend in, and when you look at those pictures as you see at night, oh, look like they’re just strolling and 8:00 coming and we’ll see if they go home. They didn’t come to stroll, they didn’t come to go home. They came, and I think asking where the guard is, how they’re responding, think about a rule of engagement in a civilized society where these people have no rules. Their one goal is that destruction or to hurt or to entice those folks to come in. And our folks are the professionals that that is not our intention. Our intention is to restore. We want them to do nothing more than go home. We don’t want them arrested. We don’t want to try and have violence on the streets, but that’s who they are.
Governor Tim Walz: (31:22)
I don’t know if John can speak any more on unconfirmed reports, but I think it’s very clear by now, when you have a situation like this across the country, elements that want to do that are certainly gathering. And then they are professionals on some of it. Like John said, we’re seeing evidence of pretty sophisticated attempt to cause problems.
Governor, do you have any evidence of white supremacists?
Governor Tim Walz: (31:45)
Oops, I’m sorry. John. We’ll come back.
Drug cartels, as the governor mentioned.
We’ve got intel reports that have been confirmed, but I cannot say that we have confirmed observations of local law enforcement to say that we’ve seen cells of white supremacists in the area. We got reports of that over the last couple of days that we were tracking in terms of threat to some of the critical infrastructure, threat to the National Guard and others. But I don’t have confirmed reports that I can give you at this point.
Speaking to the governor’s point, we also, from some national sources, also got reports on drug cartels that were directing their resources to restore their drug markets in some of the areas that had been looted and some of the businesses that had been operated by them. We’re still trying to work through that, but frankly, that’s at best a secondary or tertiary concern as we’re trying to deal with right now life and death situations on the street.
Governor, this is a question for both you and the mayor. We just spent the entire evening in Minneapolis in some extremely volatile situations. And the question in every single neighborhood was why it took three and a half hours to even attempt to enforce the curfew with thousands of people in the streets.
Governor Tim Walz: (33:04)
I don’t know. And I would go back to you and I would answer this first of all, the sheer volume of this, you’re right, thousands of crew. To detain one person, it’s not as if they’re going to walk up and let you do it, to detain one person in a volatile environment, that the minute you turn your back the other ones are throwing bottles of urine, in some cases firing weapons, takes, John can talk about this, several folks. You’ve got to get them on a vehicle and you’ve got to transport them out of there. It is a heavy, heavy lift to do so. One of the things like so many of these things, and we talk about with COVID-19, no, if people decide not to do it, can you arrest everybody? No, there’s not enough people to do it. And on this one, there are not enough law enforcement. Think about this. This is the largest concentration of law enforcement in the history of Minnesota and it is not enough. So I’ll talk to John about…
Minnesota State Patrol, Minneapolis, St. Paul all have been attempting to enforce the curfew. The issue has been, as the governor described, a tactical issue of, as we looked at crowds reaching 35W, and had to make a decision, do we leave our posts that we had assigned in calls with consultation with Minneapolis and St. Paul, been designated as critical infrastructure posts that they wanted to make sure that they were not breached and they were not lost, you had to make a decision as to of the mobile assets that you had, where do you put them, and where can they be effective? And as General Jensen said, when we looked at the Lake Street east of Hiawatha area, as we began to try and look to how would we enforce the curfew in that area, it quickly became apparent that with several thousand people that were in civil disobedience mode, that we did not have, with 150 or 200 mobile field force folks, the adequate staff to be able to do that, which is dictated, pulling people back out of what looked to be an area where they were going to be encircled, potentially assaulted and injured.
So we then regrouped and then made some tactical decisions about where could we be most effective with the resources we had. So you identified targets that were where do we have people, where is the disruption, where are there battles that we can engage with? We made the decision that we would go in and do mass arrests. And so we have started to do that, but that is also, once again, that process, you push the crowd, you make your orders, you hold your line, then you have to have an arrest team that can do that. That arresting then is tied up booking and processing. And you have to then reconstitute that group, reorganize, and then move to the next target, which is what we…
Speaker 2: (36:03)
… That group reorganize and then move to the next target, which is what we have done now.
Speaker 3: (36:05)
My follow up question to that would be that if you underestimated or didn’t know that there were going to be that many people on the streets tonight, what made you believe that after four nights of what we’ve seen, a precinct burning down last night, this constant chaos, why was it underestimated and why wasn’t that assistance there? Why weren’t the numbers there?
Speaker 2: (36:26)
I would say that we underestimated it in part because we listened to many members who said that decisions that were made today, activities that we’d made today would reduce the number of individuals who would be on the streets tonight by a significant number. Clearly that information, and the information that we based our decisions on, turned out to be wrong. Quite clearly, the numbers weren’t just a little bit larger than they had been the night before, when we were able to effectively move and clear out a wide swath of Lake Street, the numbers not only got to be bigger, they got to be more aggressive and they were less concentrated than they had been in previous nights, where we had been focused principally just on the Lake Street and Third Precinct area in previous nights. We now had 35W, we now had downtown Minneapolis.
Speaker 2: (37:27)
We knew that we had issues up on the North side of Minneapolis. As I said earlier, we also still have to do the work that’s happening on the St. Paul side of the line. St. Paul has actively been engaged with our folks and with the National Guard, holding their own there. Part of this is you have, you look at what your numbers are. You look at what you believe the threat profile is, and you look at what you have been able to do in the past. We underestimated both the numbers and we underestimated the tactics. We had not seen individuals in these crowds fire upon officers. We had seen some shootings, but it had not been directed toward officers. That changed the dynamics incredibly by making, just moving in with a mobile field force, far more dangerous, and far more fraught, as we began to decide how would we move forward. We’re still moving forward, but we recognize that now we have to worry about, are we going to take fire as we continue to try and take back Lake Street.
Governor Tim Walz: (38:37)
If I could talk about these numbers too, I think this is really important for Minnesotans, and this is a responsibility that I need to make. The one thing is, I think if you’re not involved with these numbers, there’s the belief, just bring overwhelming force. Just bring everybody there. What are you holding back for? We have about 650 Minnesota State Patrol across there. When you’re operating a force, not all of them can be up at the same time. Some of them have to be sleeping. Some are the ones providing the return. We can use every single, which we are, Minnesota State Trooper, and it dwarfs the numbers that are out there. It is not as if that it is an unlimited number and you’re making a bad mistake about not putting everybody in there.
Governor Tim Walz: (39:13)
There are other operations that have to happen. These people will now, and they will be smart, and everything that’s happening, they will move once it happens, they will move elsewhere. They will move to the suburbs if they see that happen. You have to keep that force in there. That’s why the consultation with the federal government, that’s why the consultation with fellow governors, but now many of them, and even the federal government are starting to think, how are we going to deploy those assets into other places once they see this unrest? I think it’s important to Minnesotans. It’s not for lack of planning. It was not a want, and weren’t you ready for this? Yes. We put a force on the ground when I asked them, this was larger than anything that has ever been deployed, with the most qualified troops on there.
Governor Tim Walz: (39:52)
You’re still seeing people say, where are they? Where are they? There is a finite number of folks that can go out there. That’s why we have to try. I think about it with these people. We just say, everything is locked down. If you walk out of your house in the morning, you’re going to be there. They will still be there tomorrow night. They do not care. They do not care. That’s the problem that we’re solving. I would tell Minnesotans on this, with that being the case, and it’s a tough one, we have a responsibility to solve it. We have the responsibility to figure this out. That is the next move that we’re making with the National Guard. That is the moves that we will start thinking and talking about and have tonight about this plan for tomorrow. Tom?
Governor Walz. I didn’t realize Mayor Frey was not going to stay for questions.
Governor Tim Walz: (40:35)
In retrospect, I know you were not on board with the decision apparently to abandon the Third Precinct-
Governor Tim Walz: (40:42)
The other night, did that have the effect of emboldening the protestors again tonight? Did it change the tactics you used to protect the Fifth Precinct in terms of not abandoning that when it was under siege?
Governor Tim Walz: (40:58)
Yeah. I think this is a good time. I think I want to make sure that in critiquing on this and today of being asked questions, my intent is not to critique the decision that Mayor Frey made. The criticisms about these decisions, especially after last night, as we talked about that being a pivot point, those criticisms deserve, they end with me. The situation as it came out with that being said, yes, I think so. I don’t think you can have this. We heard people talking about you can’t allow this to happen. The way I understand it happened in New York City is what they’re trying to do. Yes, I think you have to hold these. They’re one thing, they’re important strategic positions, but it is a psychological effect. These are folks that are trying to, and chaos. Those fires burning out there and people being scared and the governor of Minnesota standing here at 2:00 AM makes them as happy as anything can be. That’s the goal. Our goal is to provide peace and security and a decent life for people they don’t care about.
Quick followup to that.
Governor Tim Walz: (41:55)
Why wait to accept the help offered by President Trump if it looks like even calling up a thousand more troops isn’t going to be enough? You’re so vastly outnumbered. Why not tell him tonight, yes. We’ll take them and try to put an end to this-
Governor Tim Walz: (42:09)
We are talking about it, and I think one of the things is, is that what that number looks like, that’s what we’re trying to understand. I want to be clear with everyone. It is not a, and again, resources and things like that, it is not a small step going back to Insurrection Act and posse comitatus, about having federal forces on land. Now, with that being said, it’s simply irresponsible not to look at all sources there. This is not about a resistance to using that. It’s about understanding what are the checks and balances in terms of what are you going to get by doing this?
Governor Tim Walz: (42:40)
You imagine federal military army folks, these folks want that fight. Now, if this ends with a massive presence and a conflict with folks who are trying to bring that, that is not bringing back order. We’re assessing it. General Jensen, I don’t know if you want to say anything about how we look at this. We are not denying them. We’re looking at it. We’re assessing if this is enough, I have to again, be candid with all of you. We’re looking at doubling the size of the force of putting people on there. My assessment with my team and looking at the numbers and what’s going to happen tomorrow is to decide, is that enough? That’s what’s happening right now, Tom, and the answer might be no.
It sounds like you anticipate this going on for many days, not just over the weekend.
Governor Tim Walz: (43:30)
It certainly could. I think it would be irresponsible again, not to plan for that. Our hope is, is that we can start to get that, this is where I need the public. I need those legitimate folks who are grieving, to take this back for the right reason. Why are we talking about anarchists who are burning down damn buildings that were businesses that were built up by our indigenous and black communities? Instead of talking about we had a horrific situation where a police officer murdered and was charged for the death of a black man. We’ve lost that in there. I need the public. I need them to rise up. I need to know they’re madder than hell, but we have got to stop this piece first to get the other.
Speaker 4: (44:16)
This is important for clarity. You and the mayor were talking over here and then he left. Why did he leave?
Governor Tim Walz: (44:22)
He went back to make sure that he was monitoring his EOC. To make sure on he’s got, of course the situation up there, he’s uncomfortable spending that time. I’m with the leadership who’s making those decisions.
Speaker 5: (44:33)
Actually on that note Governor, I’ve got to get you back to it too.
Speaker 6: (44:35)
I just have one more question.
Governor Tim Walz: (44:36)
Speaker 6: (44:37)
After four days, you haven’t appeared with the mayor and you really criticized him this morning. People out there are wondering-
Governor Tim Walz: (44:42)
Speaker 6: (44:43)
What’s going on with the governor and the mayor and what is happening, and-
Governor Tim Walz: (44:46)
Nothing’s happening. I accept full responsibility for this too. We’re trying to figure out and coordinate something that’s never been coordinated before. The state of Minnesota is not a police force. The city of Minneapolis is autonomous in doing their work. We have a chaotic situation that’s going, and there were differences of decisions being made. As I said tonight, make that criticism to me, once we said we came in and aligned it. There’s an incredible frustration. The mayor’s pain is on his face. His city is burning down. Our state is in chaos. Our nation is that way, but I want to tell you there is no gap between there.
Governor Tim Walz: (45:17)
I, again, for those who think there was undue criticism, that is unfair of the criticism towards Mayor Frey, he is doing everything he can. He is making the decisions with the best information he has. I accept that responsibility. It is imperative that we’re working together. We’re on the phone 15, 20 times a day, probably two times an hour. Same thing with Mayor Carter. We are in close communication. We would ask all of you of how important me being here, because every minute I’m not here, we are managing the numbers, looking at this, looking at this in real time, I am more than happy, of course, to talk to Minnesota about where our planning is, there is no friction there. There is nothing there. Right now, our responsibility is restoring that order and the mayors are valued partners.
Speaker 5: (46:00)
Governor, we’ve got to get you on the phone.
Governor Tim Walz: (46:01)
Speaker 5: (46:01)
Governor Tim Walz: (46:02)
Speaker 3: (46:02)
Thank you, governor.
Speaker 4: (46:03)
Thank you governor.
Speaker 5: (46:06)
Right outside, this way. Thanks everyone for coming so late.
Thank you. Did we get it?
Speaker 4: (46:11)
Yeah. [inaudible 00: 10:26].