May 29, 2020
Gov. Tim Walz Press Conference Transcript on Minneapolis Riots
Governor Tim Walz of Minnesota held a May 29 press conference in response to the Minneapolis riots & protests over the death of George Floyd. He addressed the riots, the George Floyd death, the CNN reporter being arrested, and other topics. Read the transcript of his statement here.
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Governor Tim Walz: (00:02)
Much like we failed to hear George Floyd as he pleaded for his life as the world watched, by people sworn to protect him, his community, our state. Philando Castile silenced, unheard. So many other friends, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, senselessly died in our street. Their voices went unheard. Now generations of pain is manifesting itself in front of the world. The world is watching.
Governor Tim Walz: (00:36)
One of the first people I called after seeing the video was Valerie Castile, Philando’s mother. We’ve become friends since the killing of Philando. For those watching today, who aren’t familiar, Philando died in front of his loved one and his child and left them behind and left behind a grieving mother who has become an advocate for justice, an advocate for reform, but more importantly, an advocate for kindness and decency. When I talked about Valerie, she said, “First and foremost, seek justice, seek fairness and reach out and show kindness.”
Governor Tim Walz: (01:19)
What the world saw last night was not that. What the world has witnessed since the killing of George Floyd on Monday has been a visceral pain, a community trying to understand who we are and where we go from here.
Governor Tim Walz: (01:38)
I’m joined today by Attorney General Ellison, by Major General Jon Jensen, the Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard, Colonel Langer of the Minnesota State Patrol, and Commissioner John Harrington.
Governor Tim Walz: (01:52)
I spoke this morning with Reverend Jackson, who much like Valerie, said a prayer for our state, said a prayer for over those grieving, said a prayer for peace, and then also said something very important. “This is the moment where we start. But every time we get to this place, we never start the process to make sure it doesn’t happen again.” That commitment amongst leaders in our community, watching this happen across the United States, watching another name, be added, and for those of us who are old enough to Rodney King, to Mike Brown, and unfortunately now we’ve added George Floyd.
Governor Tim Walz: (02:38)
The situation on the ground doesn’t allow us, at this time, to tackle those issues. The very assets in our community, our libraries, our businesses, those nonprofits and government entities, our light rail system, are all shut down from this. We have to restore order to our society before we can start addressing the issues, before we turn back to where we should be spending our energy, making sure that justice is served, justice is served swiftly, and that we learned something from what George Floyd gave on Monday.
Governor Tim Walz: (03:23)
Now I want to just be very clear, and I’m going to have the team talk about what transitioned last night when the state assumed responsibility over the security near the third precinct, where the state secured critical assets ,and where the plan going forward to ensure that tonight our buildings do not burn, our citizens are secure, and that space that we’re going to create allows us to get back to the conversation of serving justice and making sure that we’re not adding to that list of unheard names.
Governor Tim Walz: (03:52)
I want to be very clear and speak to that community. The very tools that we need to use to get control, to make sure that buildings aren’t burned and the rule of law collapses are those very institutional tools that have led to that grief and pain. I understand clearly there is no trust in many of our communities. The differentiation between the Minneapolis Police Department that we witnessed losing trust of those they’re there to serve is very difficult for people to make for those standing up here with me. I understand that. I will not patronize you, as a white man, without living those lived experiences of how very difficult that is.
Governor Tim Walz: (04:35)
But I’m asking you to help us. Help us use humane way to get the streets to a place where we can restore the justice so that those that are expressing rage and anger and demanding justice are heard, not those who throw fire bombs into businesses that our communities of colors have worked so hard to build back up areas that were blighted at one time and are thriving because of their entrepreneurship and their hard work. A library in an area where our children, as we know, are institutionally put behind and the achievement gap for our communities of color is a shame on this state that we continue to admire by talking about and don’t repair it. That tool to help with that burned last night.
Governor Tim Walz: (05:29)
I want to just call out very, very clearly, as we put a presence on the street to restore order, it is to open that space, to seek justice and heal what happened. I will not in any way, not acknowledge that there’s going to be that pain. But my first and foremost responsibility to the state of Minnesota is the safety and security of all citizens. We cannot have the looting and the recklessness that went on. We can not have it because we can’t function as a society. I refuse to have it take away the attention of the stain that we need to be working on is what happened with those fundamental institutional racism that allows a man to be held down in broad daylight.
Governor Tim Walz: (06:18)
Thank God a young person had a camera to video it, because there’s not a person here or listening today that wonders how many times that camera’s not there. These are tough questions. These are things that have been brewing in this country for 400 years. We have people out there putting themselves on the line to try and put out fires and our firefighters that are under attack. Those are the things I’m asking you. Help me restore that order. We will do that under state leadership and state guidance. You will hear directly from them of once that decision was made around 12:15 last night. That first mission was executed around 3:45 at the Third Precinct. We will see a difference. I’m asking you and you’ll hear from them to talk about this.
Governor Tim Walz: (07:06)
I also want to think about what happens when we don’t have that. People who are concerned about that police presence, of an overly armed camp in their neighborhoods that is not seen in communities where children of people who look like me, run to the police, others have to run from. I understand that that’s out there.
Governor Tim Walz: (07:28)
But last night I got a call from a friend and a dedicated public servant, Senator Torres Ray called in her district. It was on fire. There weren’t any police there, there weren’t any firefighters. There was no social control. Her constituents were locked in their house wondering what they were going to do.
Governor Tim Walz: (07:47)
That is an abject failure that cannot happen. We must restore that order to that. Senator Torres Ray has fought her whole life on these issues of inequities and making sure that people’s voices are lifted up. But what she understands is none of us can lift those voices, none of us can tackle these problems if anarchy rains on the street.
Governor Tim Walz: (08:08)
I also want to address an issue and this one is on me and I will own it. Earlier this morning when this mission was carried out under my direction to re-secure the Third Precinct, to do so in a manner which I am proud of how it was executed by this team, no injuries and no loss of life, a re-establishment to put the fires out for those businesses. A CNN reporter and crew was arrested by the State Patrol. A few minutes after hearing that, I was on a call with CNN president Jeff Zucker who demanded to know what happened.
Governor Tim Walz: (08:42)
I take full responsibility. There is absolutely no reason something like this should happen. Calls were made immediately. This is a very public apology to that team. It should not happen. I want to be clear for those of you listening. I think our Minnesota reporters know this. I am a teacher by trade. I have spent my time as Governor highlighting the need to be as transparent as possible and have the press here. I failed you last night in that. It does not escape me that we are here on the catalyst that lit this spark by what happened with a police detainment of George Floyd. The idea that a reporter would have been taken while another police action was in play is inexcusable.
Governor Tim Walz: (09:27)
So to CNN, to the CNN team, to the journalists here, this is about having a plan. That’s what these folks are going to talk about. This is about having an aggressive approach to understanding what the community needs and not coming in heavy handed with them, but to create space where the story can be told. In a situation like this, even if you’re clearing an area, we have got to ensure that there is a safe spot for journalism to tell the story. The issue here is trust. The community that’s down there that’s terrorized by this, if they see a reporter being arrested, their assumption is it’s because something’s going to happen that they don’t want to be seen. That is unacceptable. We will continue to strive to make sure that that accessibility is maintained, that not only that, the protection and security and safety of the journalists covering this is a top priority. Not because it’s a nice thing to do, because it is a key component of how we fix this. Sunshine, disinfectant, and seeing what’s happening has to be done.
Governor Tim Walz: (10:33)
Again, I appreciate President Zucker’s call. I appreciate his understanding of the situation that he was rightfully incredibly angry. That falls squarely on me. That apology has been issued. I think going forward, to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Governor Tim Walz: (10:53)
It’s time for us to clean our streets. It’s time for us to execute today in a way that shows respect and dignity to communities. I’m going to ask for a lot of help today of those folks who want to see it. It is my expectation that justice for the officers involved in this will be swift, that it will come in a timely manner, that it will be fair. That is what we’ve asked for. I have been in contact with Hennepin County Attorney. I am confident that those very things I just said will happen. We will continue at the BCA to do a fair, a full, and a swift gathering of all of the evidence involved. But I would reiterate again, for so many of us, not all of that’s done in every other case where all of that evidence is gathered before. I would ask that the swift justice be carried out.
Governor Tim Walz: (11:58)
Minnesotans, your pain is real. The chapter that’s been written this week is one of our darkest chapters. We can choose a few things. We can choose to try and get past this. We can choose to put a force out there and stop things from happening. We can hope that in the midst of COVID-19 or something else, it passes by and we don’t have to turn that mirror to look at the harsh reality of those underline gaps, whether it be healthcare disparities, whether it be educational disparities in our communities of color, whether it be policing disparities in our community of color, whether it be wealth acquisition in our communities of color, are all very real.
Governor Tim Walz: (12:48)
We pride ourselves on a state of openness. We pride ourselves on a state of being friendly. I’ve talked a lot about One MN. That wasn’t on display last night. I don’t naively think everything heals and you come to the forefront and you say, “It’ll be better.” This is a community that demands and should expect more than words. They should expect results. Lieutenant Governor Flanagan and I have tried to make equity the center of everything we’ve done. But obviously, in Minneapolis on Monday night, there wasn’t a lot of equity for George Floyd.
Governor Tim Walz: (13:26)
His family is probably wondering where the One MN is for them. That’s on us, us as Minnesotans, us as the Governor and the team that works with me to put the things in order to establish order in our streets, to establish and rebuild trust in our communities, to lift those voices up, to be heard, not pleading for their lives, but demanding the changes necessary so no one else has put into that position.
Governor Tim Walz: (14:03)
I would like at this time to turn it over to Minnesota’s Attorney General, Keith Ellison.
AG Keith Ellison: (14:14)
Governor, thank you. Martin Luther King said many years ago that riot is the way that the unheard get heard. He didn’t condone it, but he said to the nation as a person who always protested peacefully, that don’t just dismiss that and ignore it and relegate it to just criminality and bad behavior. Actually ask yourself what’s going on there. Is it something that we as a society absolutely must pay attention to?
AG Keith Ellison: (14:52)
I think we must pay attention to it. I’d like everyone to recognize the fact that the National Guard, just a week ago, was administering COVID-19 tests to help people. To help people. The presence you see on the street, don’t react to them the way you might react to the Minneapolis Police Department.
AG Keith Ellison: (15:17)
It’s not the same group. They have different leadership, different authority. Their job is to try to bring peace and calm back again. Please remember that this is not the group that you associate with unfair conduct. But it’s a group that in fact, just a week ago, was trying to make sure that Minnesotans could survive and thrive and live, because we are still in the middle of a pandemic.
AG Keith Ellison: (15:46)
It is that sense of service where they get involved when it comes to natural disasters, storms, floods, rains, diseases. Now they had to restore order on the streets. I hope that the community who is protesting will protest peacefully, but not see this as another occupation by another military force. It really is … make sure that there’s calm and peace and that everybody can operate peacefully. Please accept it as that. I’m asking that of our community.
AG Keith Ellison: (16:21)
It is essential, and I’ve said this before, everybody keeps asking the question, “When, when, when, when, when.” This is a perfectly legitimate question. It is important to know that under Minnesota statutes, the primary jurisdiction for criminal prosecution is with the County Attorney in which the offense occurred. I believe that the message has been sent and received, that the wheels of justice must turn swiftly, not unjustly, expeditiously, thoroughly, fairly, but swiftly. It is important that people have confidence that accountability, no matter who you may be, is how we live in Minnesota.
AG Keith Ellison: (17:13)
Let me also say that this prosecution, this investigation, this criminal process is important as it is, and it is. The whole country and the whole world’s looking at it, cannot solve the problem, as the governor so eloquently said. Events like this start and they come to a conclusion, but we never start the process of real reform. I will submit to you that myself and Commissioner Harrington, under the leadership of the Governor, have already started a process on the working group on preventing and reducing deadly force encounters with the police. We have a report that we want attention from the legislature and the entire community on, to focus on that, so that we can really get to the bottom of this when it comes to issues of use of force, when it comes to officer wellness, when it comes to community healing and a whole … training issues, all kinds of things that bear on this issue.
AG Keith Ellison: (18:19)
It’s not just those things. I believe that the real work of our working group is the implementation of this. That really begins in earnest now and is more important now, I think, than ever. I just want to, as I conclude my remarks, I want to say that we have to have a situation where Lake Street, a precious jewel of our state, is a place where Minnesotans can walk again, where businesses can be safe again.
AG Keith Ellison: (18:52)
But I want to be clear that if the message was, “This situation with Mr. Floyd is intolerable, absolutely unacceptable, and must change.” That message has been sent and received as well. The Governor myself, the Lieutenant Governor, all of us are committed to that longterm change. I can tell you that I spoke with many legislators who feel the exact same way. People in the philanthropic community feel the exact same way. I think we’re going to do some real changing. We’re not just going to fix the windows and sweep up the glass. We’re going to fix a broken, shattered society that leaves so many people behind, based on their historical legacy of being in bondage and servitude, then second class citizenship, and now fraught with disparities, from everything from incarceration to housing, to wages, to everything else.
AG Keith Ellison: (19:55)
With that, I want to hand it over to General Jensen, Major General Jensen, who will further elaborate. Thank you very much.
Major General Jon Jensen: (20:16)
Good morning. I’m Major General Jon Jensen. I’m the Adjutant General of the Minnesota Army National Guard and have been the Adjutant General since November of 2017. What I’m going to describe this morning very quickly is the actions of the Minnesota National Guard since we were mobilized under Governor Walz’s executive order.
Major General Jon Jensen: (20:35)
Like many Minnesotans, I woke up yesterday morning to the news that the Minneapolis mayor had requested National Guard Support. The only difference was I opened up my phone and there was a text from Commissioner Harrington. It wasn’t the newspaper or the morning news had notified me of that. Immediately, yesterday morning, made contact with the Commissioner. We began planning on the potential employment of the Minnesota National Guard in support-
Major General Jon Jensen: (21:03)
On the potential employment of the Minnesota National Guard in support of Minneapolis. For those of you that may not understand how emergency management works in Minnesota, I’m just going to take a quick moment and explain that. In Minnesota, county emergency management coordinators, where the mayors of Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester, and Duluth may request National Guard support for the state EOC. So in accordance with that, Minneapolis mayor, Mayor Frey, made that request to the Minnesota National Guard. What traditionally comes with a request though is a layout of capability needed and exactly the problem that’s trying to be solved.
Major General Jon Jensen: (21:44)
Typically, the request for the guard and that type of information come at the same time. Sometimes it lags. So when it lags, what we do is we begin preparing for an unknown mission. But in this case, we sort of knew what we might be doing as it related to civil disturbance in Minneapolis. But it’s very important that we know exactly what we’re being asked to do so we make sure that we have the right equipment, we mobilize the right number of soldiers and the right number of soldiers and airmen to support those soldiers that are going to conduct the mission.
Major General Jon Jensen: (22:18)
That element was lacking. But with the Governor’s decision to allow me to continue to plan, we began notifying soldiers early yesterday morning of a pending mission. Once we notified our soldiers, again with the Governor’s verbal approval, we began mustering our soldiers and moving them into the Metro area, knowing that the most likely probability of employment was going to be Minneapolis. As we met as a senior team yesterday afternoon, the one topic that continued to be discussed was the lack of clarity and the lack of a mission and a description of what exactly the Minnesota National Guard needed to do.
Major General Jon Jensen: (23:07)
My concern to the Governor was twofold. One, I didn’t know what special equipment I might need to accomplish the mission. And two, I was very concerned about being asked to move to an unfamiliar area of Minneapolis under the cover of darkness. I wanted to get out when it was still daylight, where my soldiers and my airmen could become familiar with their terrain and familiar with their mission. We never got such mission assignment. We never got such mission description. Yesterday, we performed four missions in support of the Governor’s executive order.
Major General Jon Jensen: (23:46)
The first mission came from the Governor directly. That came when we were notified of an immediate and pending threat at the State Capitol. My immediate advice to the Governor was to assign that mission to the Minnesota National Guard, and he agreed with one kind of caveat, and that is the State Patrol also wanted to support that mission. So in cooperation with the State Patrol, we began that mission. The second and third mission came together. It came from St. Paul specifically. It was to provide security of the Ramsey County Law Enforcement Center and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. The key part of that security was to ensure that St. Paul police officers were not required to secure those facilities and they were therefore relieved of that duty and able to respond throughout the city of St. Paul throughout the day.
Major General Jon Jensen: (24:45)
And then the last mission we did receive yesterday evening was an escort mission for the Minneapolis Fire Department. The concept of the operations that we would move, link up with the Minneapolis Police Department, and as they went into unsecure and dangerous areas that we would secure the area so they could perform their lifesaving and property saving missions. And we continued to do those missions through the evening. As the Governor indicated, about quarter after midnight this morning, the Governor authorized a law and order mission into the third precinct. What we would call in the military, a clear and security mission. So under the leadership of the State Patrol and the Department of Public Safety, the Minnesota National Guard was assigned a task and a mission in support of the State Patrol. We would follow the State Patrol and we would help secure the area that they cleared.
Major General Jon Jensen: (25:45)
Our soldiers remained in that area as I speak now, still on that mission, still securing that location. So people and [inaudible 00:25:56] can come in and begin the clean up of that area. Now we also have picked up one other mission with the City of Minneapolis. I won’t cover the exact details, but it’s ongoing right now with the Minneapolis Police Department. And I’m very proud of the relationship between the Minnesota National Guard and the Minneapolis Police Department, it goes back to Super Bowl 52 just two years ago. Chief Rondo and I worked together during that Super Bowl. So we have had opportunities to serve together, and I have a lot of respect for him. We will continue to operate in Minneapolis until such time that the Governor relieves us of that mission. And we will do so in support of the Department of Public Safety and the Minnesota State Patrol. So that’s just a little bit of background of what the Minnesota National Guard did since yesterday morning when we were first notified a possible deployment, through the deployment and through our mission set last night, and then early this morning. My recommendation this morning to the Governor was that I continue to do the State Capitol mission and that I continue to do the mission in support of the Minneapolis Fire Department. I believe both of those are very critical mission, both to the state and to Minneapolis. And then we’ll conduct follow on missions again in support of the Minnesota State Patrol and the Department of Public Safety. So at this time, I’d like to introduce the Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, Commissioner John Harrington.
John Harrington : (27:37)
Morning My name is John Harrington. I’m the Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety. Governor Walz tasked me to prepare options and capacities and capabilities to respond to the civil unrest protests, but more importantly and really more directly, to the unlawful behavior of the arsonist, the thieves, the burglars, the vandals who were tearing apart the city of Minneapolis. I want that made clear that that’s I think a clear line of demarcation that we were operating under because it is fundamental to the Department of Public Safety, it is fundamental to the State Patrol that we take an oath to support the constitution, and that we believe that our work is absolutely essential to allow everyone’s First Amendment right to have their voices heard.
John Harrington : (28:39)
We were not deployed and we have not been deployed and we will not be deployed to stifle free speech. But we will not and cannot allow unlawful dangerous behavior to continue. I am particularly proud of our relationship with both the Minnesota National Guard. Commissioner Strommen from the Department of Natural Resources and Colonel Langer who works for the Department of Public Safety is a Colonel for the Minnesota State Patrol. We called and they came. And literally it was that it doesn’t make it much more complicated than that. I said, “I’m going to need you, and I’m going to need you here in the city. And I may need you for two or three days. And I may need you longer than that. And I can’t tell you what I’m going to need you to do yet, but I know I need you.” And they came. They began preparing readiness to be able to move folks from all over the state of Minnesota, literally from miles and miles away, to come to the Metro area to be prepared to help us keep the peace.
John Harrington : (29:47)
Over the course of the day I met with my counterparts in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Chief Arradondo and Chief Axtell, to talk about what missions they needed the state to help them fulfill. The Department of Public Safety at that point was calling to say, “We are here to support you. We are your partners. Tell us what you need and we will backfill, we will fill in the gaps. You tell us what you need for resources, and we will help you get it.” And we did get some very specific missions and in other cases, we got no real mission at all. And in the absence of a real mission, we began to identify where the critical needs were. We tasked the State Patrol, we tasked DNR, we tasked the Minnesota National Guard to meet specific missions that we were requested to do. But we also tasked them with being flexible because we knew that if things continued to devolve, that we might need to pivot and we might need to shift from a static post of guarding critical infrastructure to a fast moving operational approach of restoring order.
John Harrington : (31:09)
About midnight last night, I was party to a call where that pivot had to be made. Where the mayor of Minneapolis called and said they had no more resources and they were not able to meet the public safety needs and control the behaviors that were occurring on Lake Street. They had lost the third precinct. There was concerns about a gas main, and there was concerns about continued looting and fires burning throughout the city of Minneapolis. And different than our first night, I had comparable concerns of looting and fires being set in the city of St. Paul, and so we had to divide our resources to meet the needs of both of the Twin Cities.
John Harrington : (31:57)
The task the Governor gave me was pretty simple, actually. It was to pull together a team that could go in, keep the peace, protect people, protect them, protect their safety, protect their lives, protect their liberty. And to protect property that was being burned up literally every minute that we delayed. The Hennepin County Sheriff was one of my first calls and Sheriff Hutchinson immediately moved into action to give us support. We already had DNR, we already had State Patrol, we already had Minnesota National Guard. We had it available, but we hadn’t tasked them with what we needed to do yet and we had to create a plan. The U of M Police Chief, Matt Clark, offered support. Eddie Frizell, the Chief of Police for Metro Transit offered support. And with that team together, we put together a 250 ballpark cadre team to go in and restore order on Lake Street.
John Harrington : (33:11)
We created a mission. It was very specific. I am a mission driven person. We talked about the fact that we were going to be respectful of people’s rights, that we were going to keep the peace and make people safe. And that we were going to follow our training and protocols by making a public announcement that they needed to clear the streets, and that if they didn’t clear the streets arrests were eminent. We made those announcements. We made those announcements repeatedly so that no one would be confused about what our intent was or what we were there to do. And then having made our announcements, we began to move to clear those streets.
John Harrington : (33:58)
I will tell you that the vast majority of the great people of Minnesota and the great people of Minneapolis who are still having their guts ripped out about the Lloyd murder, and we’ll call it a murder, that’s what it looked like to me. I don’t want to prejudice this from a criminal perspective and I’m just calling it what I see at that point. They weren’t the people that were out there on the streets at three o’clock in the morning when we arrived on Lake Street. The people that were out there on Lake Street at three o’clock in the morning weren’t the good people in Minnesota and weren’t the good people in Minneapolis. They weren’t the people that wanted to mourn the loss of a friend and a relative and a neighbor.
John Harrington : (34:45)
And when they saw the National Guard, Minnesota State Patrol, and this cadre, this team moving down the street, the vast majority of them did what we thought they would do. They left. There were a few that decided not to leave. That was a choice that they get to make, but we had advised them what that choice would result in. And we took action to respectfully and carefully take folks into custody as was necessary. And it was a very limited and very structured and extremely disciplined approach to making those arrests.
John Harrington : (35:29)
I’m very proud of the fact that despite what you’ve seen over the last few days of gas and canisters and foggers, almost no chemical agent was necessary to be used last night. We did it the old fashioned way. Command presence, a uniform presence, and a clear intent to keep the peace, restore order, and to keep people safe.
John Harrington : (35:57)
My task today is a little different. Having accomplished that mission, and I think we’ve secured those streets, and I appreciate the fact that I right now got National Guard folks still holding that ground that we took last night. We need to keep that ground and we need to prepare for what may come today. Our task today is we’re bringing together a unified command of Metro area police departments, Sheriff’s departments, and other law enforcement jurisdictions and other public safety entities into a multi-agency command center where we will create a plan that will keep the peace, maintain the peace, and prevent further lawless behavior in the city of Minneapolis, in the city of St. Paul, and in the surrounding suburbs.
John Harrington : (36:46)
We’re going to do this the right way. We’re going to do it with full knowledge that our oath is to serve the State of Minnesota, to serve the communities and to protect them. We are fully confident that we can do that mission and that we can do it while still ensuring that the constitutional rights of those who need to have their voices heard and who need to freely assemble can be protected. I can tell you that no one could have heard Mr. Lloyd’s voice in the chaos of the screaming and the shouting and the fires at one o’clock in the morning on Lake Street. My job is to make sure that tonight that the community is safe and that our team is ready and prepared to keep it safe. With that I am very pleased to introduce the Colonel of the Minnesota State Patrol. Hello Matt Langer.
Matt Langer: (38:02)
Thank you, Commissioner. My name is Matt Langer and I have the honor and privilege of serving as Chief of the Minnesota State Patrol. I don’t need to rehash what the Commissioner went through in terms of the detail that he provided on the role of the Minnesota State Patrol as it pertains to the city of Minneapolis this week. I was thinking about what to say about this week and difficult is the first word that comes to mind. And it doesn’t seem to represent everything that has occurred this week well enough, but it certainly represents the challenges that the Minnesota State Patrol has faced the last couple of nights as we have worked hard to combat the lawlessness, the dangerous behavior, and the criminal activity that has occurred both in the city of Minneapolis and other places.
Matt Langer: (38:40)
Let’s speak specifically to last night, because as you’ve heard shortly after midnight, between midnight and 1:00 AM, Governor Walz asked the State Patrol to lead an event in the City of Minneapolis to quell the unrest that was occurring in and around the third precinct. There were many challenges in that area. One of the main challenges in that area was that there were fires set and the Minneapolis Fire Department was unable to get there and extinguish those fires because they were shelled by those that were demonstrating and choosing to make life difficult for everyone who was trying to improve the condition.
Matt Langer: (39:13)
As the commissioner explained, we assembled a team, both with the State Patrol, the DNR, the University of Minnesota, Transit PD, Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, and the National Guard. And we assembled that team quickly, swiftly, strategically, and we descended into the City of Minneapolis with the one goal in mind to as safely and quickly as possible recover the ground that had been lost to lawless activity and make it safe again. And then restore order, clean the area, and get it presentable so that we can move into the future tonight and beyond with a much different picture of what it means to be a resident, citizen, and your ability to demonstrate peacefully.
Matt Langer: (39:58)
That’s the mission that we took on. That’s what we did overnight. It was difficult, dangerous work for everyone involved. The people that are demonstrating, those that are caught in the middle a demonstration without the desire to demonstrate, and the first responders that are there trying to do good work. We had a few troopers that suffered minor injuries. I’m thankful they’re only minor. They stayed on the line and continued their good work because we needed every single one of them to do this job.
Matt Langer: (40:26)
We remain ready. We’re there today with the National Guard. We’re doing our best to hold that ground well and to make sure that we restore order, clean that spot up to the better than it was before, and to continue our efforts to make sure that public safety is of paramount concern as we move forward, both tonight and into the future. And then work together to restore order across the entire city of Minneapolis.
Matt Langer: (40:51)
Just as a side note, we had a couple of missions other places last night. Of course, our responsibility at the State Capitol. And we also assisted the city of St. Paul with some lawless behavior that was occurring on University Avenue with some of our mobile response team assets. One thing I’ll note is that we have troopers in the metropolitan area from all across the State of Minnesota. That was an opportunity that we afforded the Governor to make a staffing boost that is within the purview of the executive branch and within the ability of the State Patrol to do on very short notice. Now, my hats off to those troopers that responded, those DNR officers that responded from all across the State of Minnesota, come for an unknown period of time and to work very, very hard to make Minnesota what we believe it should be, a safe place for everybody. Thank you.
Governor Walz: (41:39)
I would note before we take questions, and we’ll try and make sure we answer every one or as many as you need to ask, I would note to the reporters here in Minnesota, it was about three weeks ago I stood in front of you and as we passed 500 deaths by COVID-19, and said that on about the 29th of May, we would pass 1000. That will happen today. So in the midst of this pandemic, we are still working that. We believe, again, numbers are down. ICU bed…
Governor Tim Walz: (42:03)
We believe again, numbers are down, ICU bed capacity is stable and we are doing everything we can. And as you heard from the folks speaking, the vast majority of people out there who are expressing their First Amendment rights and the rage over what happened to George Floyd were wearing masks and were trying their best to social distance and not touch things. I would, before I go to questions, note that the desire to get back to normal is so overwhelming for everyone.
Governor Tim Walz: (42:27)
When so many in Minnesota would said, “What else could happen?” We’ve witnessed this, but I think it’s an important time to pause about that. The problem is for so many of us thinking that normal is where we want to go. Normal was not working for many communities. Normal was not working for George Floyd pre-COVID-19. It’s certainly not working now. And so I think as you heard the Attorney General talk about, that we’re trying to look at, do use this as a point and not just rhetorically, but a point to make those changes. With that, Mary we’ll start.
Speaker 2: (43:04)
[inaudible 00:43:04] So what about the public? The public did not see you [inaudible 00:43:09] in the last two nights.
Governor Tim Walz: (43:12)
Well, I certainly don’t think it’s important to be on TV. I think what you expected me to do is to be there, is we were in a support role as state law shows. And once it became apparent to me that the city of Minneapolis would not be able to complete that, I was directing the state to take that over. This is my responsibility.
Speaker 2: (43:31)
Okay. [inaudible 00:43:32]
Governor Tim Walz: (43:37)
Well, I think obviously if you think I didn’t, that’s probably the case as a reporter, but I think in the moment of making sure as those decisions were being made and that we were staying in the lane, that we were asked to support this and as it deteriorated, it was at 12:05. There was a decision last night that we made is to come in front of you at that time, because that was the transition point, because what you’re seeing now is the state is the lead element now, starting at 12:05 last night, and those first missions that were carried out. So I think for many of you as you know, I try and make myself as available as possible. I think it was important for me to be getting the data and the feedback, I was watching what you were seeing, and to be quite candid when the 3rd Precinct was abandoned, it seemed at that point in time that that was the time to move. [crosstalk 00:44:21]
Governor Tim Walz: (44:24)
No. I stayed in the residence. Is where I work from. I have all the electronic tools and we were on all night. And as I said, we were taking calls and adjusting and I was able to track as the situation evolved on going down. There was a dangerous task that I tasked the State Patrol and the National Guard to go down and take that. Those of you who are watching that as I was, as the lawlessness was burning down the 3rd Precinct or whatever, that can’t be allowed to happen. It took a little while to plan this, to get going, but that’s where I was at to make sure it was executed.
Speaker 3: (44:54)
Governor Walz. There were millions of Americans and Minnesotans certainly watching on their TV screens as this unfolded last night. There was almost a complete lack of visibility of local police, state police, National Guard, after much fanfare about how the National Guard was coming in. People watched buildings burn, public and private. How could there not have been a clear mission for the National Guard when they were called in and you knew things were going to happen last night?
Governor Tim Walz: (45:24)
Yeah, I will let my leadership come back up there. You’re absolutely right. And I think that speaks to itself that by shortly after 10 o’clock, it’d became apparent that that structure would go. The way this works is is the mayors ask and they take charge and lead on the missions. I’ll let the folks come up here. I see that too. I think the decision they made to not engage. And I want to just be clear, there’s philosophically an argument to be made that an armed presence on the ground in the midst of where we just had a police killing is seen as a catalyst. My point to that was is, we don’t need a catalyst, it’s already burning. And so this is trying to strike that balance. And so I am in total agreement with that. You will not see that tonight. There will be no lack of leadership and there will be no lack of response on the table.
Speaker 3: (46:08)
As a quick follow up. Should there have been a National Guard presence on every corner in those areas last night as a deterrent, as opposed to having them come in? [crosstalk 00:46:16]
Governor Tim Walz: (46:15)
Well, I would ask and I will answer this. It went up potentially, but the decision on that as it’s made from the city and on this one, I think I would agree with them. We saw the first night, decisions were made. Up until about 8:30 last evening, it appeared that things were relatively peaceful on that. There was a decision during the day, whether did you occupy the entire city and shut it down after those 24 hours? In retrospect, I’m assuming that yes, we would say that, but at the time, and again, we will not know it if proving the negative, would it have simply started that movement faster and would we have seen it moved out of the 3rd Precinct. But yeah, certainly, it’s a valid critique and point. Yes.
Speaker 4: (46:54)
Governor, there was uncontrolled looting in the state all of yesterday afternoon and you’re talking about making decisions at 10 o’clock. Why are you making the decisions then and not coming up with these scenarios as these things are happening just up the street from where [inaudible 00:47:07]?
Governor Tim Walz: (47:06)
The leadership of communities is led by local leadership, their police force. They were at that time had sources in reserve. They were not being requested. They were not being requested. And I’m on with them. The reason we’re standing here today is, if this would have been executed correctly, the state would not lead on this. The state would have supported those and they would have moved forward. That did not happen. So now today, we’re taking that, we’re making the decision to go and do it moving forward. And again, I would go back to Tom’s question. Had I known that we were not going to see that or the capability to do it, should the state have come in potentially? But I want to be very clear. This with the exception of the state troopers who have a very specific statutory requirement on the highways, order is to the local police and sheriffs.
Governor Tim Walz: (47:54)
We do not have a built in police force, General Jensen is not a police force. DPS has experts in there, but these are not the police force that are on their streets with their people. And so that’s a decision that was made. It was in reserve and yes, keeping in mind as this unfolded, the request came from St. Paul for the Guard to be activated at five. I had moved on a warning order earlier than that to be prepared. You’re really supposed to wait until you get that and start moving them in. That wasn’t going to be possible. So by five o’clock yesterday, our guard troops were coming from all over. They were getting activated because of the events that happened the night before and we were prepared to carry out those missions. And they were there. And as you heard, some of these folks in those missions never came.
Speaker 4: (48:40)
[inaudible 00:48:40] So those are the things they’re saying about a lack of clarity on [inaudible 00:48:44]. Is that supposed to come from Mayor Frey or from the police department?
Governor Tim Walz: (48:51)
I’ll let our folks talk yes.
Speaker 5: (48:58)
Yeah. Again, as it relates to emergency management in Minnesota, County Emergency Management coordinators do exactly what you just asked. They define what they need and what they want. And then that’s negotiated with the state EOC and the Department of Public Safety, along with the agency they’re asking for, it’s not always the National Guard in this case it is the National Guard. The reason why it’s negotiated with the National Guard is to make sure that we have the capability, the capability to do the mission that’s being asked. So yes, we are always in support of the local leadership, the local civilian leadership. I have no authority to self deploy the Minnesota National Guard anywhere in the state. I have no authority whatsoever.
Speaker 5: (49:43)
And so I follow exactly what you laid out. Civilian leadership, civilian elected officials make the request and then we work with them. Because if I’m not accomplishing their task and their mission, I risk failure of mission. I also risk the chance that I might break the law, right. I can’t just march my soldiers down into Minneapolis and say, “Hey, this is what John Jensen believes we need to do.” That’s not how our government works and that’s not how our military responds and reports to legitimate civilian leadership. And so, what you asked is exactly right. That’s exactly how it’s supposed to work.
Speaker 4: (50:24)
[inaudible 00:50:24] in the morning by Mayor Frey that the plan was to let the protesters take over the 3rd Precinct. And if that’s true, why did it take until 10:30 for that to happen? And then why were you not [inaudible 00:50:36] until after midnight to take over 3rd Precinct?
Governor Tim Walz: (50:39)
I think that’s a question you’ll have to ask Mayor Frey.
Speaker 4: (50:41)
Governor Tim Walz: (50:43)
I think that the commitment to hold the 3rd was not one that I felt comfortable with and it’s one we discussed during the day. So-
Speaker 4: (50:50)
But you were told fairly early in the day.
Governor Tim Walz: (50:52)
That the potential that the 3rd Precinct would not be held. That’s correct.
Speaker 6: (50:57)
Governor, following up on that, we were told the same thing from sources that police in 3rd Precinct were told that before noon that they would be evacuating at some point, essentially the directive that they got they were hearing was they allowed it to be taken over and department. What is your response to that tactic given what we saw last night?
Governor Tim Walz: (51:12)
Well, obviously that was the turning point where we were prepared and that’s where we moved in. That’s where we did not believe that the 3rd should be given up. And that’s why it’s not and that area was taken back by the force that we put together, starting at 12:15, executed about 3:40 AM. I simply think that this, I’m like all of you watching it, you can’t have civil order deteriorate, and then you have to make a calculated decision about, does force going in there escalate it? Does it stop it? Does it endanger civilians and the force going in there? And those are decisions as you heard again, it is local police departments is how this works. We are not a police force to state. We have abilities to come back and backfill. The closest we have to that police force is the state patrol, but that’s not their normal.
Speaker 6: (52:05)
[inaudible 00:52:05] putting people at risk. Why allow it to get to that point? I understand what you’re saying, but as people are watching, that’s the question they’re asking us.
Governor Tim Walz: (52:11)
Yeah from 8:30 to 10:00, that was the decision to go. And it took time to build the force to be able to go too. Because again, we’re seeing it and there was no definitive answer whether they were going to, and I’m seeing what you were seeing. There were still officers in the 3rd Precinct, at least I believe until maybe you can correct me on this till nine o’clock or so maybe 10:00.
Speaker 7: (52:31)
Have you considered additional tools, additional powers, curfews, any sort of martial law orders to increase the authority?
Governor Tim Walz: (52:38)
Certainly all those tools are there. And I think what we’ll do is that’s what’s the planning stage right now. I don’t want to take these folks too long from what they’re doing. That’s what’s being done over the last 24 hours as we prepare for this. But once again, the order structure of this and many of us have been involved with these. I spent 24 years in the National Guard myself. I’m very familiar with how these works. I’m very familiar with General Jensen’s asking about when my troops get their mission, they get their mission order. They get a warning order. They know what they’re going to need to do. I then as an enlisted soldier would start working with my troops to make sure they were packing the proper equipment, check it out, be ready to go, drill through the things we needed to do. Those never came in many cases.
Speaker 6: (53:17)
[inaudible 00:53:17] in different situations, we weren’t asked to help. And then at some point we were. Why in this situation we could be asked to help? Why not take a proactive approach?
Governor Tim Walz: (53:26)
Well, we are. And again, I think if we’d had seen two days ago, yeah, maybe yesterday. I’ll be the first to tell you that. I think in any of these things, if you’re not second guessing, and if you’re not looking at the decisions were made, you’re going about this all wrong. I think the lesson’s learned potentially so. But again at that time, we’ve got to count on our partners in this as they say things are going. And I’m not sure that quick moving group of anarchists that was moving so quickly. One of the things we said if you think about this, to prevent this from happening, like at the Super Bowl or the RNC, 18 months of planning went into that. 18 months of planning and pre-positioning, 18 months of joint powers agreements, 18 months of lining up the materials that were there to make sure all those situations could be there.
Governor Tim Walz: (54:10)
Because my situation on this is once you lose control like that, I’m deeply concerned that the bad actors and I want to be very clear, we own this, we own this in Minnesota, but there are certainly, as people saw this unfold, the concern was yesterday, how many people would make their way here, who are simply in that business? I think it’s a valid question. I think for me as I look at that, the point is, I have to operate in real space and in real time, and by last evening was the second day we saw it and from 8:30, or during the day until 8:30, we did see this in St. Paul. We continued to ask what was happening in St. Paul.
Governor Tim Walz: (54:43)
The state patrol was tasked on many of this and they did stop a lot of that along the Target and some of those. That was what was being asked from them. But it happened from about 8:30 at night when the sun went down, when what I saw was the person breaching the barrier at the 3rd and then the decision to pull back out of there. So who hasn’t asked, I got to make sure I get to everybody.
Governor Tim Walz: (55:05)
Dave in the back.
Thank you. Governor, so it sounds like you are going to allow demonstrations tonight, protests and stuff. These would be in violation of standing orders against congregations of more than 10 people.
Governor Tim Walz: (55:17)
No, we’re not. We’re not allowing any of those. And we’ve said it. I think the idea, again, the absurdity in the middle of COVID-19 where we have worked so dang hard as a state to keep people from congregating. If you think you could, but it goes back to this conversation we’ve had in Minnesota. This takes a social compact of people agreeing to do this. And I want to just say this, watching what happened to George Floyd had people say, “To hell with staying home on that. I’m going out because this can’t happen again.” The idea that we would go in there and break up those peaceful expressions of grief and rage was ridiculous. The problem was, of not having in place with an expectation that a crowd that big over such a volatile issue, we have seen this happen in city after city, whether it was Ferguson, whether it was LA, we’ve seen these things. That was the thing why we started planning, started asking. But again, you’re seeing holes in planning. That’s for darn sure as states and cities and counties when these things start to happen. [crosstalk 00:56:16]
Governor Tim Walz: (56:16)
Let Dave finish up.
What’s the rules for the rest of the day and tonight then?
Governor Tim Walz: (56:21)
That’s what’s being worked on right now. This is the plan, there’ll be presented to me. I think we want to be prepared to present that to Minnesotans here by two o’clock or so. What I can tell you is a lot of it is going to be the operational things that you would expect to happen that were asked. They will be there, there will be a presence out on the quarters. We will start to do that, but I’m going to ask again, I need to ask Minnesotans, those in pain and those who feel like justice has not been served yet, you need to help us create this space so that that justice will be served and it’s my expectation that it’ll be swift and that we’re able to maintain that order. And so that plan will start to happen today. And it will include, we will think of all the tools that are there. I want to come back to that again. The more of those things you use, the more those are viewed as the oppressive things that led to much of this in the first place.
Governor Tim Walz: (57:14)
What we’re trying to separate is, the lawful First Amendment aggrieved citizens who need to express that, from the folks who are clearly, I’m telling you what, the farthest thing from people’s on their minds as they’re burning down a family owned store at 3:00 AM on Lake Street, was George Floyd. And that’s what we’ve got to get at. We’re going to go upfront here.
Governor Tim Walz: (57:47)
If I am candidly, I don’t think this is a secret to anybody that the tension between the Minneapolis police department and many of their communities is a pretty well known thing. And I am certainly, I don’t know any way to express it other than, that they had lost faith in them and felt that they were part of the problems. And certainly, seeing a uniformed Minneapolis police officer’s knee on George Floyd’s neck on Monday, pretty much tells you where the public is thinking towards that. So I don’t think you could think it was a mistake of who was leading that down there and that it changed the tone that was there. So I am concerned. I think it would be disingenuous. I know this is painful. This is hard. There is going to be recriminations. There’s going to be going back and looking at this as there should be.
Governor Tim Walz: (58:40)
My top priority now is the immediate security to make sure that what happened the last 48 hours does not happen tonight. The state of Minnesota has assumed that responsibility. I don’t think it’s going to be easy. Because this whole whack-a-mole thing, and these folks are really good at what they were trying to do on causing destruction. The way we’re able to stop it is, employ these tools with the support of the public to make sure we isolate these folks. And again, as Mr. Harrington said, the idea that you think you can firebomb a building and not be arrested and spend serious time in jail, I understand that. But the idea that we don’t want to make people who are out there still asking, “What about George Floyd? What happened to those people? What happened to the people who did this? That got lost in 48 hours of anarchy?” That’s what we’re going to put again.
We saw three television journalists get arrested early this morning on live television. Can you or anyone up there tell me how many looters and arsonists have been arrested over the past two days in the twin cities?
Governor Tim Walz: (59:43)
I’m going to use this as an opportunity again as I said Tom. I am deeply apologetic that this happened. I understand that the community would believe if this were targeted. I, as I told Jeff Zucker, the president of CNN, I don’t care at this point what the circumstance was, why they got arrested. It is wrong, it is unacceptable and we needed to correct it. As far as others, who can answer? Yeah, how many?
Anybody that’s charged or arrested?
Speaker 9: (01:00:11)
Yes. Both St. Paul and state patrol and others have made arrests on burglary, arson charges. I believe arson charges. I know burglary for sure that they have been arrested. There has been stops. There has been in fact folks incarcerated. I do not know have they been charged yet or not? Because I think most of them were done in the last 24 hours.
Burglary is that [inaudible 01:00:31].
Speaker 9: (01:00:32)
Yes. It’s breaking into the grocery store, breaking into the Target, breaking into the Walgreens or the pharmacies have been just decimated with folks we believe who are seeking Oxycontin and other opioids out of the pharmacy stock. And so we’ve been chasing that around as well as chasing the folks that have been setting fires. So yes, there have been arrests made and there will be more arrests made if. Say again. [crosstalk 01:00:58] I will get you a number. I don’t have that. I’ve asked both Minneapolis, Saint Paul and my other folks that were part of our unified command to get me information by 10 o’clock or 11 o’clock this morning. I have not received it yet, but I’m hopeful to have a sitrep from the last 24 hours. And we’ll get that to you as soon as I get it.
Speaker 6: (01:01:17)
Governor, I have to ask you, your reaction to president Trump’s tweets from last night in relation to Minnesota and what he said.
Governor Tim Walz: (01:01:25)
Well, it’s not helpful. I did speak to the president last evening. At that point in time, it was in the process of where I said, we were going to assume control of this, that it was unnecessary. I did not know he was going to tweet. He certainly can. It’s just not helpful. It’s not helpful. The city of Minneapolis is doing everything they can. If mistakes are made and there’s an accountability, we need to do that. But in the moment where we’re at, in a moment that is so volatile, anything we do to add fuel to that fire is really, really challenging. So, as I said, I spoke to the president. He pledged his support of anything we need in terms of supplies to get to us. There’s a way to do this without inflaming. And again, this one is so difficult as I said again.
Governor Tim Walz: (01:02:10)
The tools of restoring order are viewed by so many as the things that have oppressed and started this problem in the first place. So, it would just be more helpful at this point in time, if we need support from them, it’s certainly appropriate that we will ask. But at this point in time, I’m confident that the plan we put together today to restore this order. [inaudible 01:02:32]
Speaker 10: (01:02:33)
[inaudible 01:02:33] Minneapolis police department what kind of culture changes? Should there be more requirements on where officers live, should be a community for the police session?
Governor Tim Walz: (01:02:44)
I don’t know, I think maybe commissioner Harrington and Attorney General Ellison, when we first came into office last year, this was one of the things we wanted. And I said this as a governor, the nightmare scenario of having a police involved shooting, or as any elected official is one, so they started working this, I think I’ll hear from the General.
Governor Tim Walz: (01:03:01)
Working this, I think I’ll hear [inaudible 00:01:03:01].
Keith Ellison: (01:03:04)
Well, Governor, thank you. I think this really is the time to start talking about how we do meaningful deep dive reform. We took a year to grab in a number of people from diverse interests in the community. We had people from the community from the civil rights community. We had law enforcement there. We had law enforcement from across the state. We met for about a year. We had professional assistance from the group that guided the 21st century policing process that President Obama started and we came up with a number of key recommendations. We will get that report to you. We hope you write about it, but this supercharges the need for the effort. There was just a few observations and a few recommendations. One observation is a lot of the deadly force encounters that occur in our state are not concentrated in the Twin Cities. In fact, a majority of them were in greater Minnesota, although many were in the Twin Cities, half of them were people in a mental health crisis.
Keith Ellison: (01:04:09)
We talked about a number of things. We talked about officer wellness. Officers dealing from crisis to crisis to crisis need to be able to check in, get right before they go back and engage the public. We talked about changing and reviewing the use of force standard. We talked about making the sanctity of life a central principle, which Mayor Hodges did when she was the mayor. We made the duty to intervene, we’re recommending that be essential. Meaning, if you’re a police officer, you see a fellow officer doing something wrong, you cannot just say, “It’s not me.” You’ve got to do something about it. We came up with a number of other principles that I think are really helpful, very useful, involving training, reform at the post board and a number of things. And I think that now there’s a need to further that effort.
Keith Ellison: (01:05:06)
I will say that I think that looking at systemic pattern and practice problems in Minneapolis Police Department is an appropriate conversation at this time. I think that we need to really do some deep diving to make sure that our law enforcement professionals really do and really are serving the public, the whole public. I will say that I hope that our state legislature takes up some of the initiatives that we have in there, the academic community will take up some of it, training communities will take up some of it. One of the recommendations was a joint or dual response when there are chemical or mental health crises going on so that it’s not just officers that don’t have the training on how to deal with somebody who’s in that situation. That’s a priority. And I’ll hand it to a Commissioner Harrington.
John Harrington: (01:06:10)
Attorney General Ellison covered really most of the points that… The one other point that I will bring in is that this group was very much based out of community. We brought in folks from a variety of different diverse and geographic communities, we brought in folks from the disability community to make sure that all kinds of voices were heard. And one of the voices that I heard most clearly was the need for community healing and community health. And so one of the recommendations that we have put forward, it was important before, but I’ve never seen it as acutely as important as it is right now is for community healing. The question that we asked and that I ask here with you is how does the community recover when its heart has been ripped out? That’s-
Speaker 12: (01:07:01)
[crosstalk 01:07:01] over and over again, why isn’t the officer or officers in question being held in custody during this investigation? [inaudible 01:07:10]
John Harrington: (01:07:12)
We are working with the county attorney, who is the charging authority to make sure that we are following their guidance as we move forward in seeking criminal prosecution.
Speaker 13: (01:07:23)
[crosstalk 01:07:23] We’ve heard that the last few day.
John Harrington: (01:07:27)
That is still the reason and we’re still in the middle of ongoing investigation. And so I can’t speak to much more than that, other than the past practice for the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and most police departments has been, in these kinds of cases, they work with the county attorney to make sure that they have checked all the I’s and all the T’s and made sure everything is in order before they make an arrest or before there’s a charging decision. And we have been following that protocol with County Attorney Freeman in this case. We have some history with County Attorney Freeman in terms of past cases, some successful, some not successful, depending on what your perspective is.
Speaker 14: (01:08:06)
[crosstalk 01:08:06] discussion that this case is different. Regarding [inaudible 01:08:09] different than past cases?
John Harrington: (01:08:11)
We are aware that there is certainly a sentiment that it different, but from the point of view of the law, we have a man whose life has been ended. We have the pursuit of trying to find out what were the facts that are surround that and to be able to create enough probable cause or enough basis for a criminal charge or for an arrest. That is that’s pretty much cop 101 that that’s what you have to have and that’s what we are working toward.
Speaker 15: (01:08:45)
[inaudible 01:08:45] quick COVID related questions here.
Governor Tim Walz: (01:08:47)
Speaker 15: (01:08:48)
The state has spent hundreds of millions of dollars helping businesses with COVID. Are you ready to respond to the businesses in Minneapolis that have been affected by this and offer them some [crosstalk 01:09:00]-
Governor Tim Walz: (01:08:59)
Speaker 15: (01:08:59)
That was number one and number two, if we’ve been moving people out of detention because of COVID, if there are significant arrests, do we have a place to put folks because of the outbreak?
Governor Tim Walz: (01:09:15)
Well, yeah. [inaudible 01:09:17] listen to law enforcement on this one. These are great questions. It’s ones that we came up with, too, that what’s going to happen. My hope is, and again, hope is not a plan. You need to execute that. But I think with Minnesotans understand what’s at stake here and getting back to the focus of George Floyd and our community issues that tonight needs to be different. And when I say that, it needs to be different in the questions you’re asking. I’m stepping into that breach, and this is the responsibility, the state’s responding. We’ll use what we have, we’ll use the tools. Hopefully on that side, I’ll ask John if he wants to [inaudible 01:09:51].
Speaker 15: (01:09:51)
Could you address the [inaudible 01:09:54]?
Governor Tim Walz: (01:09:54)
Sure. I think this is certainly something we still did not finish our work in the regular session. I think we’re coming back on the 12th probably and working with the legislature. I think there’s a great desire to figure out how to do this. The tragedy of this, as I said, again, is a community that felt this tragedy, a community that believes that this has happened to a community. When we say sometimes, I hear people sometimes say, “The system’s broken,” and I’ll know communities of color will say, “Oh, no, the system is working just fine for certain people, not us.” And I think for us right now, we need to take a really hard look about reinvesting, bringing Lake Street back, making sure, we’re hoping that there is insurance for these folks, different things that we can do. But I think certainly getting our vitality back is one.
Speaker 16: (01:10:46)
[crosstalk 01:10:46] question answered from earlier from Major General in regards to [inaudible 01:10:53].
Governor Tim Walz: (01:11:01)
We’ll come back.
Maj. General Jensen: (01:11:04)
The first question, are they armed? Yes. They are currently armed. A little background on that. Yesterday afternoon, we received what I assessed is a credible threat specifically to the Minnesota National Guard. That credible threat was made available to us by the FBI. I shared that with Governor Walz, along with my recommendation that I felt as though it was a credible threat. And as a result that we should arm the Minnesota National Guard. Governor Walz concurred with me and authorized me to arm the Minnesota National guard. Now, what are the limits of their use of force? We traditionally don’t talk about the use of force because it’s an operational issue, but I will tell you this, our guardsmen maintain the right to self defense. And I think that’s where I’m going to leave it as it relates to the use of force for the Minnesota National Guard. Thank you.
I think I heard [inaudible 01:12:04] Jensen and Colonel Langer talk about protecting the state Capitol. Were they referring to the state capital building and are you concerned that that building needs to be protected? And then as a followup, when will you make a decision on a curfew for tonight?
Governor Tim Walz: (01:12:19)
Hopefully around two o’clock, Tom. I’ll give you that so you know. Give us a little bit of time as they’re finalizing on this, but I think that’s one of the questions. Yes, and we had brought up the Capitol building before of that, these very symbolic targets that people had talked about, some of it was online, you saw the thing that came in. That’s the one request that I made of the National Guard and the mission that I’m asking for specifically on our troops that came in before the cities needed to ask for what they needed was the preservation of the Capitol and the Capitol grounds. And so that will still maintain, that will still be enforced.
They’ll be guarding the building physically?
Governor Tim Walz: (01:12:55)
They are and they have been, yeah, that’s exactly right.
Speaker 17: (01:12:57)
Governor Walz, last night Mayor [inaudible 01:12:59] made the claim that he believes the abdicators are not from Minneapolis or St. Paul, is there any evidence to that? And if so, who are these people and where are they coming from? Or do you believe that most of the people that are burning down buildings [inaudible 01:13:13] Minneapolis and St. Paul [crosstalk 01:13:14]?
Governor Tim Walz: (01:13:15)
I certainly think, and I’m not going to speculate, we’d ask them. I think probably the assumption is there’s folks that come in, but as I said earlier, we need to make sure that we own this. The thing that sparked this is, is a homegrown Minnesota thing, the event that sparked it.
Speaker 17: (01:13:29)
[inaudible 01:13:29] are not residents?
Governor Tim Walz: (01:13:32)
No, I don’t know that. I think we can’t tell that right now, but I think much of how a lot of this happened, certainly all of the things that have led to this, this is Minnesota and I think we need to find out. I don’t think it changes the calculus that much of how did we got to this? How do we respond to it?
Speaker 17: (01:13:49)
It’s not taking ownership of it [inaudible 01:13:51] done by people from out of town.
Governor Tim Walz: (01:13:53)
Yeah, I’m taking ownership. We own it.
Speaker 17: (01:13:56)
[inaudible 01:13:56] leadership, are you classifying the leadership of Mayor Carter in the same classification as the lack of leadership that you [inaudible 01:14:02] Mayor Frey?
Governor Tim Walz: (01:14:03)
No and I didn’t say Mayor [inaudible 01:14:05] Frey on this, I said my issue-
Speaker 17: (01:14:08)
[inaudible 01:14:08] lack of leadership. Are we talking about Mayor Frey [crosstalk 01:14:11]-
Governor Tim Walz: (01:14:11)
In the Minneapolis Police Department. And again like this, and I will assume responsibility if the issue was is that the state should have moved faster. Yeah, that is on me, whether it’s the forces that were underneath. I don’t think a lack of leadership. I think the lack of coordination and the lack of understanding what we needed to ask for. And again, that’s in retrospect. I think that same criticism could be said to us, but the way things are lined up, that was their responsibility at that point. Now it’s our responsibility to do that. And I think we’ve been in contact with the mayors. I think they are doing everything they possibly can in a situation that is unprecedented. I don’t think, again, that’s a cop out of saying, oh, it’s unprecedented. That doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about it, but I think they’re responding accordingly. I think we’re learning a lot, as I said. These situations were planned for at the RNC and 18 months of planning and hundreds of millions of dollars. This came about after the killing of George Floyd on Monday night, it started to ramp up when the video came out on Tuesday, it accelerated into Wednesday and Thursday and here we sat.
Speaker 18: (01:15:14)
Governor Tim Walz: (01:15:15)
Speaker 18: (01:15:16)
[inaudible 01:15:15]. Just to follow up on what you said earlier about charges and arrests. I think what people don’t understand is the difference between types of crimes, meaning Mr. Floyd is not going to be released on the street pending an investigation and subsequent charges. Why, if you have seen what you have concluded for your eyes to be a murder, isn’t someone arrested pending the completion of investigation and pending charges? You do have the authority to arrest and hold pending targets.
John Harrington: (01:15:48)
Typically, in a situation where you have actually witnessed a crime and you’re immediately able to apprehend the suspect, it would be not unusual to have made an arrest, brought that person in and then offered to the county attorney what you were able to cobble together in terms of information to seek a criminal charge. If there was no criminal charge because you did not have sufficient information, then the person is released pending further investigation. In this case because there was a lag time between when the event occurred, when the video came out, and when BCA was then brought into this, there was not that same immediacy. And so a criminal investigation was initiated by the BCA very quickly working in coordination with Amy Sweasy from the Hennepin County Attorney’s office to follow the protocols that Country Attorney Freeman has outlined that he wants us to follow in terms of a officer involved death case. We are following the protocols that were established. We continue to follow those protocols. We continue to meet with the County Attorney. We continue to meet with the FBI and the US attorney as we continue to seek justice and to see what can we do and what are we allowed to do in bringing this case to a conclusion.
Speaker 19: (01:17:18)
A question for General Jensen. Quick one, do the guardsmen have authority to arrest and detain?
Maj. General Jensen: (01:17:28)
No, we do not have that authority. That’s why typically in our missions, we’ll always have a law enforcement officer with us, so we have that support immediately available. But, no we don’t.
Speaker 20: (01:17:41)
[inaudible 01:17:41] one more question. You’ve talked a lot about [inaudible 01:17:45] plans here, can you stand here right now and ensure Minnesotans that we’re not going to see a repeat of the unrest last night tonite or for the rest of the weekend?
Governor Tim Walz: (01:17:54)
I can’t assure you, but the responsibility to ensure it doesn’t happen falls upon me and I will do everything in my power to do that. As I said, I spent myself 24 years in the National Guard. I’m surrounded by good people. We’re pulling the assets and I’m going to need the help of Minnesotans, like we do on a lot of this. I’m going to need folks to cooperate to get this through. I want to acknowledge, again, that pain that people are feeling, the need to get justice. I’m just going to respond to Peter’s question, too, on this, Peter because it was an excellent question, asking about the charges and things.
Governor Tim Walz: (01:18:29)
For those of you don’t, I am not an attorney. I listen to them and they’re very concerned that the Governor has to be very careful about what they say about [inaudible 01:18:39]. We want to make sure everybody gets justice, it gets done. But the questions that Minnesotans and the outrage they’re feeling, I’m feeling them. It is taking all of my willpower to maintain that point of being asked. But the way I’m able to get them justice is by making sure that I put things in place, that civil order’s maintained, that we make it clear that there is an expectation that justice is moved forward and as Attorney General Ellison says, “This is a point in time that we cannot forget and not forget George.” We cannot forget the aftermath of this as if we would, but we have to get back to that point of what caused this all to happen and start working on that. The anger and the frustration and the wondering why this is, this is a community that year after year, decade after decade, and generation after generation hears this.
Governor Tim Walz: (01:19:40)
Right now I know there’s a lot of folks out there listening that their answers should be I’ll believe it when I see it. I’ll believe it when justice is carried out. I’ll believe it when equity actually means something. I’ll believe it when the policies change. I’ll believe it when my child gets the same education as your child and that color didn’t matter. I get it right now. We’re asking an awful lot to be based on faith and that has not panned out. But I do want to say this is a state that we, again, I think we are coming to grips with the good that we have and that that’s not there, but it’s always been about trying to strive to be better, trying to do more. I’m not trying to sugar coat this.
Governor Tim Walz: (01:20:17)
Just much like COVID-19, I’ve had to stand in front of you and tell you that it’s going to get worse before it gets better. This is not going to be an easy journey. But the one thing that we have to ensure, that civil order is maintained so those changes we want to see. None of us can live in a society where roving bands go unchecked and do what they want to do, ruin property. And that the expectation is where are the police, where are the police? And this is the conundrum. Where are the police in the first place, got us in this situation Monday night. And where are the police last night is it. And I heard from numerous people, I’m super nervous about the National Guard being brought in there. It’s a flash point. This is a [inaudible 01:20:58]. I understand that. I heard from some of those same people at two o’clock with a different tone. Where’s the National Guard? Where’s the National Guard? Over these next 24 to 48 hours, work with us to get the situation controlled.
Governor Tim Walz: (01:21:15)
And I want to talk to those mayors who are up 24/7 in Minneapolis and St. Paul. It’s not about calling out someone on lack of leadership. It’s about an issue as it developed in all of us figuring out how we get there. This is volatile. This has been building for decades. This flash point came to us and now what are we going to do about it? And it happened in the middle of an unprecedented global pandemic. It gives us a chance. We’re going to get to pick our paths very quickly here. How are we going to be seen by the world in the coming days? How are we going to be seen after that? How are we going to respond to one another? And then, what are we going to do about it? And again, if I were everybody in these communities listening, I’d say, “Well, I’m going to believe it when I see it.” The first task at hand is get civil control back, get justice moving quickly and fairly, and start talking about together, how do we rebuild? How do we rebuild trust in the police? How do we rebuild those stores? How do we rebuild a society? How do we send that face to the world that sees us for so many positive things, but we need to recognize this is what they’re seeing? And we need to take a hard look and figure out how do we change that?
Governor Tim Walz: (01:22:33)
I want to thank you all. Again, I’m going to close because of the importance I’ve said with the press. Deepest apologies to the reporters that were out there. Expectations, again, that cannot happen. We will do our best today. And I would ask all of you as the ongoing mission to make sure that we have peace and security today is making sure that that story is told. I’m asking our team to make sure that press credentials, the ability to move you and protect you safely needs to be out there so this is covered. Please let us know quickly on that. Please make sure that that’s happening. Please show the world everything that’s happening here through that lens of professional journalists who asked the questions you’re asking today. Thank you all.