Jun 3, 2020
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz June 3 Press Conference Transcript
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz held a June 3 press conference. He discussed the new charges brought on the other 3 officers, and extended the Minneapolis area curfew. Read the details in his speech here.
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Tim Walz: (00:01)
I’d like to just start by commenting on the charges that were brought today by Attorney General Ellison and their office. We’re certainly grateful for that. As I said the other day, in making the move to have the Attorney General Ellison as the lead on this case that you have the right person. And this is a step today that the public wants to see. Our justice system needs to make sure that justice is served. I would point out that the Floyd family is in town. Tomorrow will be a day of mourning and celebration of George Floyd’s life. But I think it’s critically important for them to see, and for Minnesotans to display to them, that there’s another side to us, and to this state that they did not see last Monday night. And so I want to, again, thank folks for continuing to raise your voice, for continuing to seek justice, and also for making sure we balance that public safety element of this.
Tim Walz: (01:06)
But I also want to note. I said earlier this morning, and I truly believe this. I think this is probably our last shot, as a state and as a nation, to fix this systemic issue. This rage that you saw, and the violence excluded from it, those who chose to go down that path. The message is now, and here in Minnesota for the last five days, come back to the issue at hand. Which is the systemic issues, and the systemic racism, and the lack of accountability, up and down our society, that led to a daytime murder of a black man on a street in Minneapolis. And it sure isn’t isolated to here because as this exploded across the United States and the world, it’s very clear that there’s a lot more to this. And communities have been telling us that. And I just want to say, as the justice system does its thing, yesterday, our side of the separation of powers and the balance of powers, we used executive powers to start a civil rights and human rights investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department.
Tim Walz: (02:22)
And the thing that I think all of us are seeing, when our system of democracy works right, the will of the people is reflected. Not a rush to judgment, not a majority stomps on everything else, but the sense of when change is there, people rise up. And I think it’s important. I saw former President Obama mentioned about when you’re looking out in those streets, and what is labeled either protestors or demonstrators. I think he’s right about this, that’s the improper designation. That is called the future, that was out there in our young people. That is where we are going. And I stood today with a young man. And I think about how’s he going to view the future and how is he going to see what we need to do?
Tim Walz: (03:11)
So generations have heard folks come up and say … And we’ve made progress, I certainly don’t want to deny that. We’ve made progress, from the Voting Rights Act and things. But progress didn’t keep George Floyd alive. And progress didn’t keep those people out of the streets. They’re not looking for just progress, they’re looking for transformational change. So what I would say to Minnesotans, we’ve got a unique opportunity. This is on us. The center of gravity for this is down on 38th and Chicago. The center of gravity lies in this state. This is going to be upon us. Again, what that legacy looks like.
Tim Walz: (03:52)
But we’re going to come back into special session next week. And for those of you who have fought this issue, pick your issue. Pick your issue that led to this. We have major post-secondary educational institutions that graduated zero teachers of color. Tens of thousands of students. We can’t find a teacher that looks like the kids they’re teaching. You don’t need another one that looks like me. You need somebody who’s in there. All the research shows that. If we’re going to close the achievement gap in Minnesota, we’re not going to blame it on the kids. We’re going to blame it on us not putting emphasis on putting teachers in front of them.
Tim Walz: (04:31)
We still have issues we dealt with. We have home titles that have covenants. Now people say it wouldn’t be held up in law, but it’s on paper. You can’t sell to a colored family. We have social determinants of health. You are born in this state. Two babies sitting next to each other in the hospital. We can predict which one’s going to live longer by the color of their skin. Not by genetics, not by the background.
Tim Walz: (05:03)
And we have financial institutions that still make it difficult for African American families to have home ownership. The number one thing for middle class people that develops wealth. And when I would say this to you out there, this is not an issue … I always used to hear people say about this. We’ve got an achievement gap in communities of color, in black communities, in our schools. No we don’t. We have an opportunity gap and achievement gap in the entire system. If somebody is left behind, it is going to have repercussions. And we saw last week what the repercussions were.
Tim Walz: (05:40)
So this fierce sense of now, and the fierce sense of urgency, for some of you out there who have fought this, for those that are out in the streets, again, like I said, pick your issue. If the issue is there’s not enough teachers of color, we’ve got an opportunity next week to author a piece of legislation, pass it, and I’ll sign it. It’ll be done next Friday. You’re worried about bail reform? These are what the committees are telling us. This is what the people of color and indigenous caucus is telling us. We need bail reform and fines. We pull people over, we fine them, they can’t pay the fine. We take their car, they lose their job. They can’t pay for rent and they’re homeless. What was the purpose of the fine? What was the purpose of where we were going?
Tim Walz: (06:22)
It’s taken us so long. We finally have treatment courts that recognize that, but by the grace of God, goes each one of us. So give people the opportunity. Quit criminalizing some of the things that we know there are services that could help and add back to the community. So my call to action on this is: this is on us. And I don’t think things just happen by chance. I’m not sure there’s anywhere else in the country that their legislator’s coming back next week. You’re going to get to see an opportunity next week, how serious people are about getting this done. Because I will guarantee you, there will be bills put on the floor and put to a vote. Yes or no, put your money where your mouth is and send it forward. That’s the change that people are asking for. That’s the change that can happen in what we do.
Tim Walz: (07:10)
We already see the change happening out there of people cleaning up for one another, people building new coalitions. People talking about food deserts that don’t need to be corporate stores coming in, but need cooperatives amongst the community so that it’s shared back in, and that shared wealth goes back into the community. Those are the fights that are going to be coming. So I would just ask all of you. Tomorrow, the world will turn its focus, and the space will be created for the Floyd family. But it’s also going to be very clear if the belief is, is that this will finally just kind of calm down, and everything will go back, I certainly don’t believe it. If you’re out there listening to people, I don’t believe it. And I certainly don’t think the young people that are our future believe it.
Tim Walz: (07:59)
So Minnesotans, I’m going to ask us once again, to honor the curfew, 10:00 to 4:00, you have done perfectly. You have done everything that was asked of you. You’ve done it with an understanding that that created the space for the dialogues. It created the space to bring the human rights and the civil rights issue forward on the police department. It created the space to let Attorney General Ellison bring charges forward today. It created the space for communities to start to heal and build coalitions. It created the space for legislators to put together a package that needs to be addressed. That’s a positive thing. And then it lets us think about and get back to the things we need to do.
Tim Walz: (08:38)
I would mention again, we’ll have a pretty aggressive plan of dealing with a COVID-19 testing. We’ll make sure. And again, I want to hear everybody not putting up barriers. You’re not going to have to tell somebody why you’re getting a test, just because you were at a protest. That’s not what we to do. We need to make sure that people come down. If you thought you were there, you thought you were exposed. We’ll be testing all of our National Guard, and all of our folks as they issue out. We’ve still got this fight on. We’re still in the midst of this. And we still have some opportunities to bend the curve.
Tim Walz: (09:09)
I think hopefully here in the very near future, I think we’re seeing some good numbers. We need to talk about phase three of the reopening plan. Getting back restaurants, getting back, potentially, some of these fitness centers, other types of activities that we’re seeing. That’s going to be imperative, as we knew all along. We’re staying relatively stable. And I think it’s because, I’ll have to say, even in situations of large mass gatherings here this week, the vast majority of people were doing the best they could. They had their masks on. Were trying to hand wash, do those types of things. So we’ll update a little bit here on where the current situation is, and certainly takes some questions. But I really, again, cannot stress enough that if it’s not now, I’m not sure that it will ever happen. So I would encourage Minnesotans, let’s show them the best that we have. We’ve done this before. Let’s make that move. Let’s be-
Tim Walz: (10:03)
Show him the best that we have. We’ve done this before. Let’s make that move. Let’s be the example of what happens, and let’s let other folks start to see these things that we can do together will make a difference. With that, Commissioner Harrington.
John Harrington: (10:17)
Thank you, Governor Walz. John Harrington, Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety. Following up on Governor Walz’s statement, the three former Minneapolis officers, one of them is already in custody, and we expect before this evening is out to have the other two in custody, based on the charges brought today by Attorney General Keith Ellison. We will be continuing our rapid response model of policing. I met today with a number of community leaders from different parts of the Twin Cities area, including North Minneapolis and South Minneapolis, to talk about what that deployment would look like and talk about what community partnerships we can create and should be maintaining, as we continue to try and keep the peace, maintain the rights of everyone to be able to protest appropriately, and make sure that we do not have any new fires, that we do not have any new episodes of violence there.
John Harrington: (11:17)
In addition to the rapid response teams, we continue to staff our mobile field force teams, and we are continuing to work on two new projects, not really new, necessarily, but we’re continuing to expand the work we’re doing with the ATF fire task force. As I mentioned, there have been around 90 fires, arson fires, that we have been working on. This ATF state fire marshal and Minneapolis and St. Paul arson unit task force is, in fact, investigating those. And we are, in fact, also going out to pick up flammable objects, bottles, cans, other things that we’ve found left, secreted in backyards and in alleys and in the backs of people’s houses, to make sure that we can take those objects away, and make sure that there is not additional tools for those who would do harms trade.
John Harrington: (12:09)
Finally, we are also working with the FBI on federal charges. They have announced federal charges on one individual who crossed state lines to commit crimes. And we are continuing to work with them on investigations, to make sure that if there are others who are committing crimes, interstate crimes, crimes that are within the federal jurisdiction, we are going to work with the FBI to do the investigation. And we’re also working with Eric McDonald, the US attorney for the state of Minnesota, to make sure that those will be charged appropriately.
John Harrington: (12:42)
One thing that has come up is concerns about the 911 system, people calling 911, not getting an answer. We are going to start working through the ECN, the Emergency Communication Network to try and provide some additional resources to the 911 system so that folks will get a more response there. We are asking folks if they see people, especially around this issue with the flammable objects, to continue to call 911. We recognize that in some times over the last week, that has not necessarily seemed like the most useful information, but we really think that is where, when somebody has a flammable, when somebody has an incendiary, somebody has what is potentially a bomb, we want that information to go out as an emergency call.
John Harrington: (13:27)
We do believe that for those folks that are seeing cars driving around with no plates on them, and we’re continuing to get those reports, we continue to follow up on them. We’ve continued to actually find several of them now. We’d like you to use the non-emergency number for your local police department. If it’s (612) 348-2345 for Minneapolis or (651) 291-1111 if you’re in St. Paul. So if you’re seeing cars, suspicious activity, where you think the cars are cruising your alley or cruising a site, they’re stopped in places you don’t know, we would like to hear about that. We will send people out to do the investigation on that, but we think the non-emergency number will be a better resource for that.
John Harrington: (14:08)
Finally, I would just echo the governor’s comments about the curfew. We’re going to do the curfew for another two days, from 10:00 to 4:00. And once again, I will ask Minnesotans, folks, especially in the Twin Cities, Minneapolis and St. Paul, please stay home, stay safe. We know some of you have talked about the fact that you feel like you have to guard your property and guard your businesses. And we understand that. We appreciate the feeling, but we don’t want you to put yourself in harm’s way. We want you to be safe. We think home or in your business is the safest place for you. And so we’re asking for you, once again, to step up your game, and to step this up by staying home and staying safe.
John Harrington: (14:49)
And with that, I’ll turn this over to General Jon Jensen of the Minnesota National Guard.
General Jon Jensen: (15:05)
Good evening, everybody. Major General Jon Jensen, Minnesota National Guard. I’m the [inaudible 00:15:09] general. Today, I spent the day traveling St. Paul, visiting my soldiers, checking in with them, checking in with our airmen who are performing missions across the city. And it was just a tremendous afternoon to be with them, to share with them their experiences this week. And I can tell you, they have been touched, and they’ve been impacted by their experiences this week. This is a difficult mission for anybody. It’s a difficult mission for law enforcement professionals. And it’s certainly a difficult mission for the Minnesota National Guard. But we are incredibly encouraged. What Commissioner Harrington described is exactly how we see the environment, as well. Things are getting better. Things are improving. We are proud to be part of that. Proud to be contributing to that.
General Jon Jensen: (16:03)
For the families of the soldiers and airmen that are currently here in Minneapolis, St. Paul, providing a vital service to both of those cities, I can tell you your men and women, they’re in great spirits. Their morale is high. They’re completely committed to their mission. There’s a seriousness in their approach, but I can tell you there’s a strong purpose in their heart. Their purpose remains the same as it has been since day one, to preserve the right to safely and peacefully grieve and demonstrate for our citizens.
General Jon Jensen: (16:38)
Our ongoing redeployment continues. The governor approved the redeployment of Minnesota National Guardsman back to their home towns and their home armories, and we continue to do that. So we really have three pools of soldiers and airmen currently. Those available to the current mission, that number remains, or that number has been decreased. If you remember earlier this week, we described that to be over 7000. We are currently right around the 5000 mark. So where are those 2000 soldiers and airmen from there? They are currently either in a transitioning period, as the governor mentioned, as we prepared to out-process them from state active duty to include a COVID-19 test. So when they returned back to their employer, we know that they are healthy and prepared to work. And then finally, they’re off duty. As we transition through this, the commitment I made to the governor, I believe it was on Monday, is that our presence would not be diminished. Our capabilities would not be diminished. We’d be able to meet every mission and every need that was present in Minneapolis and St. Paul. And to this date, we continue with that goal, with that objective, and with that commitment.
General Jon Jensen: (17:57)
And as I mentioned, this type of state active duty is difficult, but together, I know this, as Minnesotans, we’ll get through this difficult time. I would like to thank everybody out in the community, who as they drive by my soldiers and airmen, wave at them, thank them, appreciate them. And in many cases, try to feed them and water them. To that, I thank you for that. All of us, though, working together is important. And that’s what I’m seeing. I’m seeing that both on the security front, as it relates to our police officers, National Guard, and state patrol, and the community. We’re looking for opportunities to help the community in every opportunity that has become available to us. We have reached out, we’ve seen soldiers and airmen help neighborhoods pick up the remnants of violence. And as always, the Minnesota National Guard is here, always ready. Thank you.
Tim Walz: (19:01)
Thank you, General Jensen. I would like to echo this part of it, and the genius of our system, federalism, of making sure that there are very clear lines of delineation, of not having federal forces in states. And I say this as someone who feels very strongly about this. For 24 years, I put on those uniforms, did my training as an artillery man, but when missions called, tornado cleanups, fighting forest fires, sandbagging and assisting people in East Grand Forks in 1997, and then missions overseas. But each and every time, when those missions ended, I went back home, I took off the uniform, I put it in the closet, and I put on my teacher stuff, and I went back into my community. They’re not coming from somewhere else. They’re invested in Minnesota. They’re invested in our communities. And they see Minneapolis and St. Paul, whether they live here or not, as a part of who they are. So at General Jensen, I want to extend my deepest thanks for the professionalism, understanding that there’s families out there that-
Tim Walz: (20:02)
… Understanding that there’s families out there that have the stress of both sides of this, of watching what’s happening and having people involved with it. And I’d also like to say, before I take questions, as we talk about this. I mentioned while this may be centered down there on 38th and Chicago. I think it’s important for us to keep in mind the issues at hand of course are a crosshair, but the impact of what happened last week is felt further than down on Lake Street.
Tim Walz: (20:29)
I just have to say, I want to thank, as they get ready to come back, our legislators are amazing. They have worked through… Their leadership, Speaker Hortman, in the Minnesota House and Minority Leader, Kent in the Senate, of funneling information, of trying to get information to people. And I have received countless calls from legislators. I just want to say, I received one yesterday from Senator Bobby Joe Champion, and he was breathing righteous fire about North Minneapolis. He sent me three dozen pictures of what’s happened in North Minneapolis. And he’s right. I see a lot of stories, but he said, “How come nobody’s talking about North Minneapolis? How come nobody’s talking about things that happened here?”
Tim Walz: (21:09)
So I think it’s as important as we go back and we start talking about these things, we can leave no one behind. We can leave no parts of Minnesota behind. And we have to recognize, this sense of what’s happening is everywhere. I took a call before I came in here from Mayor Judd in Morehead, talking about conversations he was in with young people and things they wanted to see changed in their community. This is a point in history that must be seized. And with that, questions. Tom, I’m going over top of you.
Okay, go ahead.
Speaker 2: (21:42)
Governor, given your comments about wanting to fix systemic racism. Will you have a specific proposal, an agenda, a list of things you want accomplished in that special session?
Tim Walz: (21:57)
Yeah. This is a great question, because this issue, and I think some of you covered it, around policing reform, criminal justice reform, it’s something my wife, Gwen, worked on in prisons. We talked about that. But what’s changed here is all of this changing the lesson? No. What they don’t need is another white politician bringing a proposal forward unless it’s what the community wants. Now, many of those things came from them. But what we told and what we used to think about this is, this is what’s politically possible. We can’t do that, because that won’t pass here. It won’t pass there. I would like to believe this calculus has changed. Now, you’ll all say, “Boy, we’ve seen this before.” I just think it’s going to be very telling next week when proposals that are coming out of the community that are best practices, that are showing in places like Camden, New Jersey have made a difference in how police violence, talking to Commissioner Harrington and the community who did that. Our proposals are going to mirror what’s coming out of the community.
Tim Walz: (22:47)
My job in this is to use the skills that I have and the authority as governor to help move those things through. So we’re looking where the posse caucus is. We’re outreaching. And I was talking with the Council of African American Heritage on the phone last night. We’ll be on the phone again before that. And I told him those are packages that need to be brought forward. And that’s how we’ll approach it. Tom.
Governor, is it realistic to think in a short, special session that you can pass meaningful legislation? Generally the best legislation is not the fastest legislation.
Tim Walz: (23:17)
Then we stay there until we get it done.
You’ve also got a pandemic to deal with. And a lot of legislation regarding that, as well as a bonding bill. Could this become a very long, special session?
Tim Walz: (23:28)
I think that potential is there. And I know that I believe it was from the Senate, was talking about it’s up to the Senate. Once I call them back. They can decide when they’re going to go. In this moment, what we know needs to get done. I can’t imagine going before we get work done. I can’t imagine. We had the opportunity and we left. And you’re right. We have a pandemic, we have a budget, and we have to stabilize our state’s budget. We have to think about further COVID funding, but these are the issues that are going to have to go hand-in-hand.
Tim Walz: (23:56)
If this is a time and we go back in session and say, “Boy, we really wanted to do something about home ownership, but we just don’t really have it done.” I just don’t think it’s going to go. I’ve always said this, but people said, “Where’s the leverage in the legislature?” There’s many different leverage points, but I’ve always said, the strongest leverage is the people. And I don’t think any of us in our lifetimes have seen leverage being exerted the way it is. And I could see us staying there until we get her done.
Speaker 3: (24:22)
Could you talk a little bit about putting Attorney General Ellison in charge of prosecution? Did he come to you? Did you come to him? And does it reflect a lack of faith in the Hennepin County prosecutors office?
Tim Walz: (24:34)
Well, I don’t think I would say that more than a belief that this was the way to go. I listened to a lot of people. I did go, and the Attorney General and I spoke. It was coming to me from lots of different sources. From lots of different people. And I think one of the things that became very clear here, perceived reality is reality. So I’m not going to get into the debate about that, but the public and the family did not trust this. And it’s not as if every family gets to pick who their prosecutor is. But I’ll tell you what, in this case, they were speaking for a lot of people who felt that that was it. I think in this case to make sure that people feel the… Because it all goes back to this, that they do not trust the system.
Tim Walz: (25:13)
They do not believe the system works. They do not believe it works for them. And that move was to try and move in a direction of an authority that I have to try and take some of that out of it. That was the reason that it was made. And I asked the Attorney General to take it. And listening to him today, I think the sense of service and duty he felt he needed to do so. I would let him say on that, but I did ask and he was willing to do it.
Speaker 4: (25:40)
Governor, what’s your message to these businesses that have boarded up their windows and doors? How long should they stay in this defensive position? When can they get back to normal?
Tim Walz: (25:53)
Yeah. And this is one that we all go together. I think this is always that striking the proper balance. It’s my judgment, and I will let the folks on the security side who weigh into some of those, that the mood has changed to the point where Minnesotans are not going to tolerate anybody doing that. Minnesotans are not going to tolerate a tax on business, especially minority businesses, and that we can get into a posture. We can’t stay in a massive presence on the street all the time. Once again, this hasn’t happened… We have crimes, we try and reduce them. We have strategies for that, but this type of broad scale. So our hope is, is that we will be there quickly. I don’t think it’s any… We’re looking at this that tomorrow is going to have the attention of the world and a large number of people here.
Tim Walz: (26:42)
Again, to me, I cannot fathom a world or anybody thinking that tomorrow is the place to dishonor the memory of George Floyd or stop the momentum that they’ve seen this week of changes and justice starting to be served out. So our hope is just as quickly as possible. And I think that’s what’s incumbent upon us to use the science, but also the necessity that the situation has changed. To start thinking about phase three of reopening. To try and time this pretty quickly. And I think more will come out on that.
Speaker 5: (27:13)
Governor, I had a question about that. A lot of Minnesotans, they might appreciate the way you’re handling things now, but they’re afraid you were preoccupied now with dealing with public safety. And they’re worried that the economy is not going to get turned back on as quickly as many people think it should. Your response to that, when might they expect some turning of it on?
Tim Walz: (27:34)
Yeah, the thing I would tell them is just continue to look at this. Our testing has remained the same. We’ve continued to process. And we’ve been out there reaching out to people. I tell my team that I do want to set expectations high in the public. Because I think it holds you more accountable. I think they should expect in the next several days for us to hear and give a plan when we start. And I said, I think if you look at what we put out on phase three, to go back to that about some of those are going, I think that’s it. We’re in a difficult time. We’re at a pretty flat pace on COVID. But I think in this case, we’re going to have to strike that balance to start moving towards those things.
Speaker 5: (28:08)
Could that be a bigger capacity at bars, restaurants, hair salons, and maybe happening even sooner than June 15th?
Tim Walz: (28:16)
I think there’s a possibility with that. I don’t want to set unrealistic expectations, but I think at this point in time, I would rather err on the side of being very honest in this… How we’re talking about this and things are being gathered up. I will leave here and we’ll have a conversation on this. So I’m ahead of my team a little bit on this. But it’s my expectation and ask them. So I want to tell people during the middle of this, we were still simultaneously, the Minnesota Department of Health and everything was doing exactly what they needed to do.
Tim Walz: (28:39)
The Department over at DEED were doing their things. They have proposed a plan for the next phase that will be presented to me, I believe this evening or first thing in the morning. And that we will try and do, because it was my goal that once we hit June 1st that we would have a plan in place for the next one. And I think if it’s possible and if the situation is stable enough now to be able to go before that, we should do that. I don’t know if that’s the case of how they’re going to present. But if that is possible, we’ll seize that.
Speaker 6: (29:08)
Governor, kind of jump back in time a few days.
Tim Walz: (29:10)
Speaker 6: (29:11)
You had mentioned during, after the initial riots broke out, that you were waiting for requests from the Minneapolis City Officials before you came in. Tell me a little bit about, is there a specific law or procedure that would prevent you from sending the National Guard in?
Tim Walz: (29:25)
Yeah, I can talk to you. I’ll tell on the legal side of this.
Jon Jensen: (29:32)
Well governor, don’t point to me for legal advice. Let me tell you, I’m an Infantryman. The emergency management system in Minnesota works again, counties and the cities of Rochester, Duluth, St. Paul and Minneapolis have the ability to request state support to emergencies. Now, we’re talking about the National Guard. But it could be any state agency. So I’m going to use the Minnesota National Guard as my example. But again, it could be any-
General Jon Jensen: (30:03)
Okay. I’m going to use the Minnesota National Guard as my example, but again, it could be any state agency. That request from their Emergency Management Coordinator, again at the county level or in the four cities that I mentioned, comes through the state EOC and there’s a discussion and a dialogue between the entity that is requesting the capability and the state EOC and the emergency management team about that capability. Because what we want to prevent is somebody to say, “I want 500 National Guardsmen.” Well, the first question always is, for what? To do what? And so to ensure that we get the task correct and to make sure that the National Guard is actually the agency that should support that request. And then, of course, later is the numbers and the special equipment.
General Jon Jensen: (30:53)
So once that is discussed, and I’m brought in on that, typically, to make sure that the capability be an asked for, we actually have those types of things. Once we work through that, Commissioner Harrington, Director Kelly, and myself, if it’s a National Guard matter, then go to the governor. Say, “Sir, this is the request. What is needed? And our recommendation is this.”
General Jon Jensen: (31:26)
And then it’s either yes or no. And if it’s yes, and the governor agrees, then there is an executive order that is published that the governor signs that actually then orders the National Guard into this role. And then the planning and the execution of that mission follows.
Speaker 8: (31:48)
And when did you make that recommendation.
General Jon Jensen: (31:48)
To the governor? My first discussion as it relates to this operation was with Commissioner Harrington a week ago, almost exactly a week ago right now. But at that time, what the question was and what the conversation was, was that we believed we needed some type of resource from the Guard beginning on Saturday. Commissioner Harrington and I said, “Okay.” I said, “Perfect. I’ll come into the office on Thursday, we’ll begin notifying our units. We’ll have our soldiers report on Friday and we’ll be ready to execute the mission on Saturday.”
General Jon Jensen: (32:28)
Well, the security situation in Minneapolis deteriorated very quickly on Wednesday night. As I mentioned earlier this week, I woke up Thursday morning to a text from Commissioner Harrington that said, “We have to accelerate this and we need to go.” And so we began working immediately on that. And so that’s the timeline in terms of where I was involved. I can’t speak to anything before that conversation that Commissioner Harrington and I had on Wednesday evening. And like I said, that’s how I got involved with going forward.
Speaker 9: (33:01)
One more question today, folks.
Tim Walz: (33:03)
Speaker 10: (33:04)
We each have one.
Tim Walz: (33:05)
Let’s go two. Go there and go Tom. Yeah.
Speaker 10: (33:07)
Governor, what do you make of the mounting criticism of the Minneapolis Police Federation and several labor groups have been calling for the president of that group to step down? Your thoughts?
Tim Walz: (33:21)
Well, I’m not going to get involved as far as that side of things. I would just say, I’m very disappointed with the statements that have come out of there and obviously other labor groups. I’m a labor person. Labor unions are meant to protect the middle class. Labor unions built the middle class. The labor unions I know were there to protect the George Floyd’s. They’re not there to protect people who are now being charged with murder of George Floyd.
Tim Walz: (33:45)
So I think deciding to take the battle against your communities, and I’ll just call this out in the aftermath of this, the need to try and sully the name of George Floyd with something he had done earlier in his life is despicable. It’s beneath the dignity and it it’s solely is the names of folks who truly want to serve. So I think this will be a broader conversation. I don’t want to make this that fight, but I think it would be disingenuous and a disservice to Minnesotans if I did not call it the way I see it as where a major problem in this issue lies.
Speaker 11: (34:26)
Governor, two quick things. Will you look to Wisconsin a little bit to see what their experience has been like since they reopened their economy and things have not gone crazy with COVID-19? Will that help inform and guide your decision making? And then secondly, can you tell us about your experience at 30th and Chicago today and what that was like meeting with people down at that corner?
Tim Walz: (34:47)
Sure. On the first one, yeah, absolutely we’re looking at other States. I think one of the encouraging things is, and Commissioner Malcolm would tell me it’s a little bit too soon, but Memorial Day weekend, it looks like in numbers, did not have a significant bump of going. And as I’ve said, now we have 90 days of knowledge about COVID-19. That’s exactly what we’re doing and I think that’s the point. I don’t want people to get complacent, but I think we’re at a point now where we’re going to have to, again, make sure that everybody who needs that hospital space has it, but move a little bit in that direction. So I’m fairly confident. And I think when we do that, Minnesotans embrace that it’s their responsibility. I was driving by the restaurants that are open in the side and they’re doing it exactly right. And they’ve retrofitted there. They’re ready to go. They’re ready to do this. That’s what gives me the encouragement that we need to help them.
Tim Walz: (35:39)
And as far as this morning, and as I said, my intention was to try and go down there, just my wife, myself, and Lieutenant Governor were there, I think it’s important as a human being for me to be able to be in that space, because those of you that have been down there, certain places have a gravity that transcends time and where they’re at. That place has already established that. It has had it when people are down there in that mode and the things of looking at that wall and then looking at the street where it happened. I just wanted to go down there to make sure that, as a human being, I was viscerally feeling this in a very tangible way.
Tim Walz: (36:16)
I tried to stay out of people’s way, but there was a gentleman who had a young man with him, about a six year old, and he had a piece of chalk and he was writing. An African American man. And it really struck me when I talked to him because people were talking about this, and someone said to the side, “Well, it’ll be better when they arrest those officers.” He said, “It won’t be better.” He said, “It’s justice. It needs to be done, but there will still be the pain.”
Tim Walz: (36:41)
And I thought it was so interesting that he was talking about the pain of those families that weren’t involved and the children of those families. And the pain that he’s in as an African American man sitting on the site, knowing that it could have just as easily been him or, God forbid, his son who was standing beside him, he was thinking at the broader issue of kindness, healing, community.
Tim Walz: (37:04)
It was very powerful because it takes you to that place, is what I keep saying, is this transformational way we’re looking at this. If we get this right, this will be a better place to live. This is, and I say, here. So it was powerful. I, again, am very quick to call out that these special places, the last thing, many times, especially where a black man is killed, to have a white politician there appropriating that pain.
Tim Walz: (37:37)
But I do think, I would say is, is that you need to go down there and feel it. Not just so you can pat yourself on the back that you feel the pain, but that you understand this sense of urgency of the change that has to happen, because then it becomes very personal to you. So I’m very grateful for all the people who were down there. I’m grateful for the way that the Minnesotans have treated this. I think it’s going to be very important for the community to tell us what they need to do. And that’s what’s a lot of going on down there. Community talking and us listening. And I, like all of us, need to become better listeners and then we need to put that into action. So thank you and we’ll try and follow up.
Tim Walz: (38:18)
Thank you. Thanks General. Thanks John.