Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz on Thursday signed an executive order to activate the National Guard in order to “maintain the peace in the wake of George Floyd's death” and keep residents safe during protests where officers have reportedly fired rubber bullets, flash bombs, and tear gas at protesters. Minneapolis city officials had requested urgent assistance from the state’s National Guard as protests over George Floyd’s death descended into scenes of chaos. The protests—sparked by shocking footage of a police officer kneeling on the unarmed black man’s neck before he died—have seen local businesses and residential buildings near police headquarters set on fire and at least one person was fatally shot in the area late Wednesday.
“Local leaders have requested National Guard resources after extensive damage to private property occurred and peaceful protest evolved into a dangerous situation for protestors and first responders,” Walz said. Minnesota Sen. Tina Smith wrote that she could hear “sirens and explosions across our green city.” Mayor Jacob Frey pleaded with residents for calm, saying: “Let’s honor George Floyd's memory.”