MINNEAPOLIS — Governor Tim Walz reiterated a curfew in effect for Minneapolis and St. Paul from 8 p.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. Friday as both cities prepare to see an uptick in National Guard and local law enforcement to help quell a potential second round of unrest in Minneapolis Thursday night.
According to Minneapolis police, within the first hour of Thursday night's curfew 30 people were arrested and one illegal gun was confiscated by officers.
According to Walz, 300 National Guard members, 250 state patrol officers, DNR and other state assets have been deployed to help local law enforcement keep the peace.
The additional state manpower and resources will bolster what DPS Commissioner John Harrington estimates will be a force of 1,000 peace officers in the Minneapolis and St. Paul areas.
Despite the preventative measure, Walz stressed the importance of community and government leaders to continue the conversation of how to move forward following high profile community deaths such as George Floyd.
“We have the opportunity to be defined by what happened to George Floyd … or how we respond to them,” said Walz.
Commissioner Harrington echoed Walz's sentiment that violence and unrest would not be tolerated with an impassioned plea to families.
“Tonight’s a good night for family, for them to be right up under your arm knowing where they are. If they’re downtown when windows start breaking, we will have to arrest them. That’s not what we want. We want a peaceful night," Harrington said.
Walz made it clear that Metro Transit would remain operational to ensure people the ease of access to get home.
When asked if the administration would consider closing down major roadways into the cities as was seen during unrest in May, Commissioner Harrington said while there is currently no plan to do so, that option remains available if called for.
Regardless, Harrington is not seeing any intelligence to suggest large numbers of people are coming into the city to cause harm.
Earlier in the day, after a curfew had been instituted Wednesday night, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey announced that it would be extended for a second night, in place 8 p.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. Friday.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter followed suit, announcing his city would also impose a curfew from 8 p.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. Friday in response to civil unrest.
"What transpired last night does not bring us closer to racial justice,” Frey said. "We will not abide by lawlessness, we will not tolerate deliberate destruction of our businesses."
The unrest began after false rumors about a police shooting circulated, following a homicide suspect taking his own life while surrounded by police officers on Nicollet Mall.
Gov. Tim Walz said in an earlier news conference Thursday afternoon that the looting in Minneapolis Wednesday night was not a peaceful form of protest.
The Minnesota National Guard said on Twitter Thursday that nearly 100 soldiers are supporting missions, and another 300 are being activated.
Walz said Minnesotans should stay inside during the curfew in order to help identify those who are destroying property.
The looting and fires were easier to control Wednesday in comparison to the unrest after George Floyd's death due to the smaller number of people on the street and "lessons learned" from May, Walz said.
Police Chief Medaria Arradondo also said police presence will be increased in the city Thursday. Fifty arrests were made in Wednesday night's unrest, Arradondo said.
“We are not going to tolerate lawlessness,” Arradondo said. "We have to restore peace and order, and I'm hopeful and optimistic that we will do that."
The Minneapolis Fire Department responded to four fires overnight as looting and rioting rocked downtown Minneapolis.
The fires happened at Brit's Pub on Nicollet Mall, a Tires Plus located at 1103 W. Lake St., a Walgreens on the 4000 block of Chicago Ave. and the China Wok located on the 2000 block of 27th Ave. S.
Minneapolis Fire says two people who live above the China Wok had to be rescued. One person was rescued from the roof and another from a second floor window using ladders.
No one was injured or killed in these fires, and they're all currently under investigation.
A police spokesperson said the encounter that sparked the social media rumors started when officers approached a homicide suspect who was standing in front of a building on Nicollet Mall on Wednesday evening. Surveillance video showed the suspect appeared to pull out a gun and shoot himself.
Minneapolis police released the video Wednesday to quell rumors about police involvement, but on Thursday removed the video after "feedback from the community."
A statement released on Twitter reads in part, "we have removed the video due to the graphic nature and out of respect to the individual, his family and the community."
Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said officers were not involved in any deadly use of force, despite the rumors on social media.
KARE 11 initially posted the video online in order to dispel rumors and for the sake of transparency, but has now taken it down as the immediate public safety concern has passed.
The unrest also comes at a time of tension between police and the community, three months after the death of George Floyd under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer, and days after Kenosha, Wisconsin police shot Jacob Blake multiple times in the back.
Arradondo estimates 500 people were in downtown Minneapolis Wednesday night. Multiple stores were damaged, had windows smashed and were looted.