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Twin Cities quieter Saturday as thousands of soldiers called in to control protests

More demonstrations are being held on Sunday to honor the memory of George Floyd.

MINNEAPOLIS —

  • Gov. Walz is extending the 8 p.m. curfew for Minneapolis and St. Paul for Sunday night
  • The closure of major highways will also continue
  • Larger police presence, fewer demonstrators lead to quieter Saturday
  • Minnesota National Guard fully deployed with 4,100 soldiers; thousands more to come
  • Police use tear gas near 5th Precinct; West St. Paul officers respond to shots fired
  • St. Paul police "push back" group of people coming over bridge into city
  • Major highways proactively closed overnight
  • State, faith and community leaders encourage peaceful protest, but say "Stay Home" after curfew at 8 p.m.
  • Family of George Floyd plans independent autopsy

Sunday, May 31

1:33 a.m.

In an early morning news conference Sunday, Minnesota Department of Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell said the situation in the Twin Cities is mostly stable.

"Tonight we feel it went far better," Schnell said, comparing Saturday night to the chaos of Friday, as protests over the death of George Floyd descended into riots.

"One, there was clarity ... and there was an overwhelming number of resources that were brought to bear, which was critical," he said.

Schnell said there was also "incredible compliance" with the 8 p.m. curfew.

"There was a tremendous level of community support for the curfew, as hard as that is to do in an open and civil society," he said.

Schnell said law enforcement is still pursuing small groups that tend to go into residential areas and then come back onto the "main thoroughfare."

"There have not been large issues in terms of property damage," he said. "But we also do not want to be overly confident."

Schnell said that while they feel they have the resources they need, they know there are still people "out and about whose intent is not very community focused."

Law enforcement crews will remain out Sunday morning, Schnell said.

Authorities are still working on finalizing arrest numbers, but Schnell said they will get those out as soon as they can. He said as of 10 p.m. there were dozens, and he doesn't know how many more people have been arrested since then.

Saturday night's demonstrations were significantly less violent than Friday's, as state leaders put forth a larger show of strength with thousands of national guard soldiers and additional police officers and state troopers.

Schnell said that Gov. Tim Walz will have to decide whether to maintain the curfew past Saturday night, or to continue with the full mobilization of the Minnesota National Guard.

"We want to make sure that the people of Minneapolis and across Minnesota feel safe and comfortable," he said. "And that's really what this mission was about from the beginning, to restore order."

"Do I think we made progress tonight? Yes," he said. "Do I think this is a long-term proposition in terms of the need for this level of personnel? No. But ultimately the goal is to restore the situation to where regular normal public safety ... can meet the needs of the Twin Cities."

RELATED: Violent protests over police killings rage on in dozens of US cities

RELATED: Highways shut down in preparation for possible riots

Schnell said there are groups of five to 10 or 20 that will separate, then reconnect.

"They may arrest one or two and then ultimately they split up again," he said. "And we think that that's going to be some of the tactics throughout the night."

He said they also believe there's still a possibility that some of the more professional entities out on the streets may want to engage more aggressively.

RELATED: George Floyd's GoFundMe campaign raises more than $4 million

RELATED: Want to help? Organizations looking for and offering support after Minneapolis unrest

"We did see groups that did try and leave Minneapolis and head into St. Paul," Schnell said, and it was the objective of St. Paul police and the joint command to prevent that.

"A line was established, there was attempts to breach that line, that line was held in a positive way," he said. Schnell did not know if there were arrests in that incident.

Schnell said there were "many thousands" of law enforcement officers and national guard members present Saturday night. There were thousands Friday, too, but we had a "much larger crowd," Schnell said.

Compared to 700 national guard soldiers on Friday, 4,100 came out to assist local law enforcement on Saturday.

"We had incredible levels of compliance I would say," Schnell said.

Aside from a vehicle fire on I-35 and a few "Molotov cocktail" type incidents, Schnell said they did not see any large-scale fires on Saturday.

Schnell said the Twin Cities are not "out of the woods" yet but he believes they have the resources to deal with anything else that comes up Sunday.

12:26 a.m.

Minneapolis police say an individual shot at officers while they were patrolling near the 1400 block of Lake Street around 11 p.m.

According to a tweet from the department, officers encountered three suspects and one of the suspects shot at the officers.

The three suspects were taken into custody and no officers returned fire. One gun was recovered and one suspect was transported to a local hospital for evaluation.

12:03 a.m.

Minneapolis police say officers are responding to a report of people trying to start a fire at a building on the 1600 block of 6th Street South in the city's Cedar Riverside neighborhood.

It's one of relatively few reported arson attempts overnight Saturday into Sunday.

Saturday, May 30

11:37 p.m.

A source inside the Minneapolis Police Department tells KARE 11 reporter Lauren Leamanczyk that shots have been fired at officers in the area of South 14th Avenue and Lake Street.

There is no information on whether there are any injuries.

Reporter A.J. Lagoe is on Cedar Avenue and East Lake Street, where he says tensions are high with police yelling at people to "go home" and then shooting less-lethal rounds down the street at them.

Those reports come as overall the Saturday night demonstrations appear to be much less chaotic and violent than Friday's, with a larger law enforcement presence on the streets including national guard and state patrol.

KARE 11 reporter Adrienne Broaddus reported seeing people arrested by a SWAT team in the area near the Minneapolis Police Department's 5th Precinct around 11:15 p.m.

St. Paul was quiet Saturday night, as the Marshall Bridge and University Avenue were shut down, along with portions of the major freeways in the metro.

11:07 p.m.

KARE 11 reporter Heidi Wigdahl says as of just after 11 p.m., the only people on Lake Street from the Minneapolis Police Department's 3rd Precinct to the Lake Street-Marshall Bridge are people defending their businesses.

With a crew spread throughout the metro, protests appear to be at least starting out quieter than Friday night. A larger and more "strategic" law enforcement presence is out on the streets Saturday, after widespread looting and fires on Friday.

Reporter A.J. Lagoe and photojournalist Ben Garvin also witnessed people guarding their neighborhoods, telling groups of demonstrators to leave.

St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell said earlier in the night, his officers pushed back an effort to come across that Marshall Bridge into the city.

Arrests have been made in both Minneapolis and St. Paul but no officials have been able to give exact numbers yet.

"The community is clearly fed up and they're coming out in the streets and trying to force people out of their neighborhoods," Lagoe reported from Minneapolis.

10:39 p.m.

Gov. Tim Walz and state law enforcement officials are holding a news conference to update the public on their response to demonstrations across the Twin Cities.

Paul Schnell, who is the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Corrections, said there has been a number of arrests, but didn't have specifics.

He said a majority of them are for violation of the curfew.

The state has deployed significantly more resources on Saturday, including more than 4,000 Minnesota National Guard soldiers. Although Walz did not rule out bringing in federal military police, he said that on a practical level, he could get help from North Dakota troops faster than national troops.

When asked about the preparation from the state, and why these resources weren't used prior to Saturday, Schnell said they believed they had enough resources on Friday, but it became apparent as the night went on they didn't have the adequate resources.

Schnell said there haven't been any reports of significant injuries to either civilians or law enforcement.

Schnell also addressed a Twitter video showing a paint canister fired at Whittier residents on their porch.

"We do not want there to be collateral harm, we know that that can happen and it's regrettable," he said. "When people get caught up because they're on their front porch or their steps ... we apologize for that happening."

He asked that when people know there are officers in the area, they move indoors.

Photojournalist Ben Garvin captured video of a group of demonstrators confronted by residents with bats and clubs at 26th Street and Longfellow Avenue, yelling at them to get out of their neighborhood.

10:30 p.m.

Mayor Jacob Frey told KARE 11 that there are 1,000 Minneapolis police officers on the ground, in addition to the state troopers and more than 4,000 Minnesota National Guard soldiers assisting.

“We have a very organized and measured approach tonight,” he said. “Obviously the numbers that we’ve got on the ground are significantly increased from previous nights.”

He defended his decision to abandon the 3rd Precinct building earlier this week, saying, “We were valuing life over a brick and mortar structure.”

Meanwhile, KARE 11 reporter Heidi Wigdahl says the situation is escalating a couple of blocks away from the 3rd Precinct in Minneapolis.

10:23 p.m.

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said police are sending a strong message Saturday night, along with Mayor Jacob Frey, that we are "taking back our city."

"Where these groups are coming in and trying to commit these crimes, we are showing the robust forces out there to hold them accountable," he told KARE 11.

Arradondo said they are making arrests but he does not have the exact number yet. He said that everything they're doing is "strategic."

"We're very intentional. Those folks who are willing to comply and leave our city and ensure that they're not harming it, that's OK," he said. "We're restoring hope back into the city."

Arradondo said that they have a more robust volume of resources Saturday, as opposed to Friday when leaders said they were outnumbered, and that they are "sending a message" that agitators cannot come into the city and cause harm.

"I'm not hearing of any sort of numbers of arsons, certainly no looting," he said. "The evening is still young," he acknowledged.

KARE 11's A.J. Lagoe reports that flash bangs are going off on Bloomington and Lake, and tear gas is heavy in the air.

Minneapolis police are reporting flames on the roof of a shopping mall near the 3000 block of Nicollet. They say firefighters are responding.

10:05 p.m.

Minneapolis police say an officer is being treated by medics in the area of the 5th Precinct due to a laceration.

Gov. Tim Walz has announced that he will provide an update on the state's response to the demonstrations at 10:30 p.m.

9:59 p.m.

Minneapolis police say people are throwing objects down on law enforcement below on the 35W bridge over 31st Street East.

Tensions continue to rise as some groups of demonstrators stay on the streets after the 8 p.m. curfew in the Twin Cities.

St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell said at 10 p.m. that his officers are launching gas, pushing a group on the Marshall Street Bridge back into Minneapolis.

"We had some information that they were heading this way to cause trouble in our city," Axtell said, and officers quickly responded to the bridge and "pushed them back."

Axtell said they have not observed fires or looting in St. Paul at this point. Vehicles without license plates are being stopped, searched and towed. He said they have not made any arrests.

"We want everybody to understand, we are not messing around tonight," he said.

Meanwhile, KARE 11 reporter Lauren Leamanczyk is with a group of approximately 100 peaceful protesters marching from Northeast Minneapolis. She said that they have not been confronted by a single police officer, and they are not causing any vandalism.

9:33 p.m.

The Minnesota National Guard has significantly stepped up its presence in the Twin Cities, with thousands of soldiers deployed to respond to expected rioting Saturday night.

After several nights of unrest across the metro as protests over George Floyd's death escalated into looting, violence and fires, Gov. Tim Walz deployed the national guard troops on Friday.

After state and local officials said they were outnumbered even with the assistance of the 700 soldiers, Walz fully deployed the state forces Saturday. 

Saturday night, the Minnesota National Guard announced on Twitter that they have more than 4,100 soldiers and airmen, but they're quickly moving toward 10,800.

"We live here. We serve here. We're all in," the tweet read.

State and local leaders have been unable to confirm exactly how many people are from outside of Minnesota, but they have repeatedly said that they believe professional entities are using "urban warfare tactics" in the ongoing unrest.

"We are aware of a significant number of people who arrived to the Twin Cities today, and that's part of the reason that the governor closed our highway," said State Sen. Patricia Torres Ray on Saturday night.

9:15 p.m. - West St. Paul shots fired

The West St. Paul Police Department said it is reporting to “several reports” of shots fired around the city.

 According to a tweet from the department, officers are stopping several vehicles, most with no license plates. The tweet added that there is no immediate threat to the public.

9 p.m.

As a curfew goes into effect in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and several other communities around the metro, crowds continue to march in protest of the death of George Floyd.

KARE 11 reporter Heidi Wigdahl filmed a large group of protesters chanting "No justice, no peace. Prosecute the police" moving by the Minneapolis Police Department's 3rd Precinct at about 8:45 p.m.

SKY 11 is following aerial footage of demonstrators at 31st and Nicollet. Earlier in the day thousands marched and chanted peacefully, but Gov. Tim Walz has said that anyone out past 8 p.m. will be seen as part of the violent rioting efforts.

KARE 11 reporter Adrienne Broaddus says police fired tear gas on a crowd that gathered around the 5th Precinct. That group then began moving toward Lake Street. 

Protesters could be seen on video preparing barricades on Nicollet Avenue.

In Northeast Minneapolis, a 10-foot barrier was erected around the Minneapolis Police Department's 2nd Precinct, although there is no known report of a specific threat there.

6 p.m. - Walz gives update on state's planned response to riots

Gov. Tim Walz said that Saturday night "will be different" from previous nights of widespread riots and fires in the Twin Cities, after mobilizing 2,500 soldiers from the Minnesota National Guard.

"We're making sure that as we saw things evolve, and we've talked about this, that tonight's coordinated effort between the National Guard, the state patrol, law enforcement presence will be different," he said.

Walz held a news conference Saturday at 6:30 p.m., calling the situation "ever evolving."

"We fully have activated the National Guard, those folks have been staging doing the things they need to do necessary and will be deploying on their missions to make sure that they're providing support to firefighters and all the things they need to do to provide safety and security and restore those basic things that make Minnesota a great state," Walz said.

The governor said he has signed an executive order allowing Minnesota to pull in resources from other states as well, as protests over the death of George Floyd again devolved into rioting, looting and chaos overnight.

"I watched the peaceful protests in South Minneapolis today," he said. "A clear sense of community, a clear focus on the murder of George Floyd, a clear sense of justice."

Walz said by contrast, the people coming out Saturday night "are not our neighbors."

"Tonight is different," he said. "Tonight will be mixed in with folks that don't care, did not build our businesses, and do not share our values."

Walz urged people to stay off the streets and at home so that state and local law enforcement can target those committing violence.

The governor said the tactic of the groups that have been wreaking havoc the past few nights is "using arson as a means of terror and destruction and then move."

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey brought attention to those who brought brooms and helped clean up the streets of Minneapolis Saturday.

More than 120 Minneapolis firefighters will be available to respond Saturday, Frey said, and officers from 35 jurisdictions. That's in addition to the state troopers and Minnesota National Guard forces that have been promised by the governor.

Mayor Melvin Carter of St. Paul said that many people have asked him if charging former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd is "enough." The mayor said he thinks people ask him that because he's one of few elected officials who know what it's like to be pulled over for "driving while black."

"There's no such thing as 'enough' when it comes to protecting human life," he said. "There's no such thing as 'enough' when it comes to assuring our children that when you see someone in a badge and a uniform that that someone is here to help you."

Carter said that the contents of the video showing Floyd's death are "unacceptable," but that the rioting and events of the past week are distracting the community from that issue.

"We must stand together today by staying home so that we can separate ourselves from those who seek to destroy," he said.

Walz said anyone on the streets past 8 p.m. will be considered part of the violent rioting and not a peaceful protester.

"The assumption is right now, if you're on the streets past 8 o'clock, you are part of what is going on, it's not going to be tolerated," he said.

Frey said in response to questions about a lack of police protection in the past week, "the math simply didn't work."

"This wasn't a matter of lack of planning or poor strategy," he said. "We simply did not have the numbers ... to be able to respond to groups of hundreds of people all throughout the city looting."

"We do have a cohort, a team, that is ready to go tonight," he added.

The governor responded to fears that other communities outside Minneapolis and St. Paul could be hit by violence.

"I think it's certainly a concern to be, tonight to watch, I think this is a concerted effort and well thought out by these folks," he said. "They are domestic terrorists and that's how they're treated."

He emphasized that he is not pulling law enforcement resources from other communities to utilize in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

"We have not drawn down and left places uncovered," he said. 

He said that the people causing violence have "brought fear into our cities."

"It's about trying to sow misinformation, it's trying to sow fear," he said.

Walz said he is "deeply concerned" about a COVID-19 super-spreader event during the protests and riots, and said that the state will see a spike in cases as a result.

5:40 p.m. - MnDOT closing highways

The Minnesota Department of Transportation will be closing I-35W, I-35E, I-94, I-394 and Highway 55 beginning at 7 p.m. as officials brace for the possibility of more rioting on Saturday night.

In a press release, MnDOT said it will be closing the highways from 7 p.m. Saturday through 6 a.m. Sunday.

Alternate routes will remain open for motorists to exit the downtown area, according to the release. Curfews have also been issued for Minneapolis, St. Paul and several surrounding cities and counties, beginning at 8 p.m. in an effort to keep people away from any potential danger that could ensue from any violent rioting.

For more information on alternate routes, closures and road conditions, check out the department’s website or follow the Minnesota Department of Transportation's Facebook and Twitter pages.

The following stretches are where the closures will take place:

  • I-35W northbound and southbound between I-694 and Hwy 62
  • I-35E northbound and southbound between Hwy 36 and Hwy 62
  • I-94 eastbound and westbound between I-694 and the I-694/I-494 interchange
  • I-394 eastbound between Hwy 100 and I-94
  • Hwy 55 northbound and southbound between Hwy 62 and I-94

5:30 p.m. - Rep. Ilhan Omar urges people to stay home

Rep. Ilhan Omar held a news conference Saturday to urge Minnesotans to stay home as "outside agitators" destroy minority-owned businesses in Minneapolis.

"We are hearing that there is the deployment of extra force," she said. "Although many of us have cautioned against having excessive force present in our communities, we realize that that is going to happen tonight."

Omar said she wants to minimize the loss of life. "We don't want another George Floyd to happen."

"Every single fire set ablaze, every single store that is looted, every time our community finds itself in danger, it is time that people are not spending talking about getting justice for George Floyd and many of the lives that have been lost in our community," she said. "You can't say you care about black lives, and engage in fires that endanger black lives."

Omar said that the community's grief and pain is being exploited.

"People primarily from outside our city are destroying black and minority-owned businesses in our city,” she said in a statement. "We can’t let them. Let us all prioritize justice for George Floyd, police reform, alongside the safety of our community and the prevention of more violence. I urge people to stay home tonight so we can better target and isolate these agitators.”

Omar called for peace on the streets as people continue to call for systemic change.

"My children's lives and every single person who lives in this city deserves to be protected," she said.

"The mayhem we see here is not in the spirit of the people who came out to protest, to cry out to grieve for the death of this dear brother, George Floyd," said State Sen. Jeff Hayden.

Hayden said that while he wants to continue calls for change, he pleads for today, "Let's stay home."

Omar issued a passionate rejection of the destruction occurring on Lake Street, among all the business development immigrants and people of color have worked to achieve. She said she doesn't care if they are from Minnesota or not.

"What we mean is those are not our people," she said. "Those are not the people that are grieving in the ways that we are grieving. Those are not the people who are interested in getting justice for George Floyd."

5 p.m. - Protests start peacefully in South Minneapolis

Ahead of an anticipated fifth night of unrest in the Twin Cities, thousands of people gathered peacefully to call for action in the wake of George Floyd's death in Minneapolis police custody.

Large groups gathered beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday at both the Minneapolis Police Department's 5th Precinct and the intersection where Floyd died, at 38th and Chicago Avenue, calling "No justice, no peace," "Black lives matter" and "Arrest all four."

Former officer Derek Chauvin has been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd's death. The criminal complaint says he was the officer seen on camera with his knee on Floyd's neck. The other three officers have not been arrested, but Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said Thursday that they are under investigation and he anticipates charges.

KARE 11 crews found many people coming out to help clean up Saturday after another night of vandalism and looting.

The full Minnesota National Guard has been mobilized to help keep the peace Saturday night after multiple nights of violence, fires and looting across the metro. Compared to the 700 National Guard members who were deployed Friday, 2,500 soldiers will be deployed Saturday.

3 p.m. - MPD chief holds press conference

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo and police spokesperson John Elder held an afternoon press conference to provide a status update regarding the increasingly tense situation following a fourth night of riots and protests.

“We are not going to let a group of people hijack this city,” Arradando said. “Today, I wanted to let the city of Minneapolis know that hope is here. It is shining itself each and every day. Whether it's neighbors helping each other out, grabbing brooms and dust pans and collecting garbage ... we're still seeing it play out where relatives ensure their seniors have what they need during this pandemic ... that is the soul of Minneapolis.”

He also had a message for the children, who he said "we often forget during these times."

“I want to say to the children, I will not let this be your normal. There are brighter days ahead. We will get there together … I am confident that all of us will meet this challenge together and we will again see the luster and shine and the humanity that really sets us apart as the city of Minneapolis,” Arradondo said.

"Each and every day we are making sure we have our plans in place, and our corridors we will be protecting," the chief said, stating his department had been provided a much more robust array of state assets from Governor Walz and Mayor Frey to tackle the tense public safety situation. 

According to MPD spokesperson John Elder, Chief Arradondo called Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey on Wednesday to convey that Minneapolis police did not have the capacity to respond to the level of unrest that had unfolded, at which point he requested aid from the national guard – which has since been deployed to Twin Cities streets. According to Arradondo, the mayor obliged that request "immediately."

In the last 72 hours, however, Elder said they were overwhelmed.

RELATED: More National Guard members to be called up after 4th night of Minneapolis unrest

Between 1 a.m. and 9 a.m., Elder says 27 individuals were booked into the Hennepin County Jail from the protests. 25 were booked on probable cause rioting, while two were for burglary.

The Minneapolis Police Department says it received 383 individual calls regarding burglaries, damage to property and audible business alarms between the hours of 8 a.m. on Friday to 8 a.m. Saturday.

During that same time, the department says it received 131 calls regarding shots fired either via shot "spotter activation or shootings." However, no deaths have been reported as a result of the gunfire.

As of 3 p.m. Elder said the department had about 57 calls waiting for officers to respond, with 18 of those listed as “priority one."

In terms of arson, Elder cited 23 outbreaks of fire between 10 a.m. Friday to 10 a.m. Saturday and another 124 pending calls for fire-related services.

“These are times that I don’t believe has been seen in Minnesota before,” Elder went on to say. “We are dealing with a pandemic and dealing with this tragedy, and the fallout from it.”

Elder was clear to say that Minneapolis police continue to supports the public’s first amendment rights to protest, and that the department is actively working with local community groups to create spaces for them to do so peacefully – safe from those who want to do the city harm.

12 p.m. - State and faith leaders: protest, but respect curfew

State and faith leaders gathered at a press conference with the message that people should practice their right to protest, but should be home by 8:00 p.m. as ordered by the curfews in most cities around the metro. 

9 a.m. - Walz, Frey provide situation debrief

Gov. Walz and the Mayors of Minneapolis and St. Paul gathered to speak after another night of ongoing violence. All three, as well as other state leaders, emphasizing that most of the people causing damage and starting fires were not from the area. Gov. Walz quoted a figure of 20% locals involved in the rioting to 80% people who don't live in Minnesota. 

FRIDAY BLOG: More National Guard members to be called up after 4th night of Minneapolis unrest

CURFEW ORDERS: