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Minneapolis, Minnesota Mayor Jacob Frey and other city officials released a statement on Thursday condemning the violence in the city but urging rioters to wear masks and practice social distancing.
“While acknowledging the tremendous pain and trauma in Minneapolis, City leaders condemned the violence and widespread damage that has occurred in the city following the protests sparked by the death of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis Police in south Minneapolis on May 25,” the statement said.
Gov. Tim Walz (D-MN) called in the Minnesota National Guard to help maintain peace, while Frey issued a declaration of local emergency.
“We need to offer radical love and compassion that we all have in us,” Frey at a press conference on Thursday. “I believe in this city and I know that you do to.”
City Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins called for the riots to calm down.
“As we stand here grieving, yet another loss of black life, I am asking my colleagues, the mayor, and anyone else who is concerned about the state of affairs in our community, to declare a state of emergency declaring racism as a public health issue,” Jenkins said.
The press release ends by asking the people who are currently burning down the city and destroying and looting local businesses to wear face masks.
“The City encourages everyone to exercise caution to stay safe while participating in demonstrations, including wearing masks and physical distancing as much as possible to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The City has made hundreds of masks available to protesters this week,” the statement said.
During the press conference, Frey told rioters their anger was justified and “right.”
“What we’ve seen over the last two days, and the emotion-ridden conflict over last night, is the result of so much built-up anger and sadness, anger and sadness that has been ingrained in our black community not just because of five minutes of horror but 400 years,” Frey said, according to The Washington Examiner (my former employer). “If you’re feeling that sadness and that anger, it’s not only understandable. It’s right.”
Frey appeared to change his tune on Saturday, speaking more harshly about the rioters.
“This is no longer about protesting,” he said. “This is about violence, and we need to make sure that it stops.”
As CBS News reported, protesters in Minneapolis “defied curfew orders as firefighters worked to put out fires across the city in the fourth night of unrest over George Floyd’s death.”
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CBS Minnesota reports they were battling fires at businesses. Demonstrators also set fires to dumpsters, trash bins, furniture and other items on residential blocks near the police department’s 5th Precinct building.
The Pentagon has put military police on alert to go to Minneapolis. The units are on notice to return to their bases within 30 minutes, which is the last alert stage before actually receiving an order, CBS News’ David Martin reports.
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