Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz activated the National Guard ahead of the trial of one of the ex-police officers charged over the death of George Floyd.
Walz issued an executive order on Friday calling in the National Guard to Minnesota’s “Twin Cities,” Minneapolis and St. Paul, to handle expected demonstrations and potential unrest. The trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is scheduled to start in March.
“The upcoming trials of the former officers involved in the death of George Floyd have raised the potential of civil unrest in the Cities of Minneapolis, Saint Paul, and nearby communities,” Walz said in his order. “The Mayors of Minneapolis and Saint Paul have requested assistance from the State, including the Minnesota National Guard, to support public safety and security and to prevent or respond to potential civil unrest. In addition to other state resources, the National Guard can supplement local law enforcement efforts to keep the peace, ensure public safety, and allow for peaceful demonstrations.”
Chauvin, one of four former officers charged in Floyd’s death, is charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The three other former officers are scheduled to stand trial in the summer in order to cut down on congestion in the court room and to abide by coronavirus protocols.
Floyd’s death ignited protests and riots that rocked U.S. cities for months afterward as thousands of people marched in streets, set fire to police buildings, destroyed property, and looted stores. In the most extreme cases, individuals were hurt or killed. Retired St. Louis police captain David Dorn, for example, died defending a local business from being robbed amid a riot there.
Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said on Wednesday that he has rarely seen the marshaling of local, state, and federal resources to keep the peace to such an extent as for the upcoming trial, according to Minnesota’s Star Tribune.
“It’s never happened in my 40-plus-year career where we’ve had to pull together this kind of multi-jurisdictional effort to keep the peace. This is an exceptional time,” Harrington said.
The other three officers facing trial after Chauvin have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Prosecutors say that the ex-officers’ methods of restraining Floyd during his arrest led to his death. In video of the arrest, Chauvin can be seen allegedly placing his knee on Floyd’s neck and shoulders for roughly nine minutes.
Floyd’s toxicology report found methamphetamines and fentanyl in his system. Chief Hennepin County Medical Examiner Dr. Andrew Baker, an independent medical examiner who performed an autopsy on Floyd, said that evidence suggests that Floyd died of a drug overdose, according to court documents.
The medical examiner concluded that Floyd’s death was a homicide, however. As The Daily Wire reported in August:
New court documents have uncovered two memorandums, dated May 26 and June 1, that suggest Chief Hennepin County Medical Examiner Dr. Andrew Baker concluded George Floyd likely died from a fentanyl overdose and found “no physical evidence suggesting” that he died of asphyxiation.
“AB (Andrew Baker) said that if Mr. Floyd had been found dead in his home (or anywhere else) and there were no other contributing factors he would conclude that it was an overdose death,” says a memo dated June 1, outlining a May 31 virtual with Dr. Baker.
The memos seemingly run contrary to the Armed Forces medical examiner and Hennepin County medical examiner’s final conclusion that Floyd’s death was a homicide.
“His death was caused by the police subdual and restraint in the setting of severe hypertensive atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, and methamphetamine and fentanyl intoxication,” the Armed Forces medical examiner found, according to FOX 9.