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Documents released by city show Minneapolis mayor, police chief asked the state for help early on during civil unrest

Ellen Galles
Updated: August 04, 2020 06:42 PM
Created: August 04, 2020 06:19 PM

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has taken a lot of blame for allowing the fires and the unrest to get out of control after the death of George Floyd.

But new documents released by the city seem to show that city officials were asking for state help as early as Wednesday evening, and according to at least one text message, the governor may have been hesitating.

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Gov. Tim Walz signed an order to send in the Minnesota National Guard on Thursday, May 28. But by then, dozens of buildings had been looted and torched, and the Third Precinct was already under siege.  At the time, state officials said they hadn't been given enough information to be effective.

But emails and text messages released by the city seem to show the mayor and the police chief were attempting to communicate how urgent the situation was early on.

Gov. Walz calls for full mobilization of the Minnesota National Guard; says many protesters from out of state

One text is from a staffer on Wednesday, May 27, saying, "Mayor just came out and said the chief wants him to call in the National Guard for help at the Third Precinct. Mayor appears intent on doing."

Another text later that evening says, "He called the governor just now. Sounds like they are looting Target."

In a different text string from that night, one of the mayor's staffers says, "He says Walz is hesitating."

There is also an email from the Minneapolis police chief sent Wednesday night to the commissioner of public safety. It asked for 600 soldiers, saying, " The Minneapolis Police Department requests assistance from the Minnesota National Guard for immediate assistance with significant civil unrest." 

It went on to detail a mission plan that included elements from security to transportation.

Tuesday afternoon Walz said the timeline is not necessarily the issue, it was the perception of what the guard could actually do.

"He asked for help as early as he possibly could, and we delivered it when we could. The question was understanding what the capability was," he said.

When asked for a comment on the situation, a spokesperson for the mayor's office said, "The mayor believes the documents obtained through the data request speak for themselves. He asked for support from the Minnesota National Guard as soon as looting began. The mayor is committed to working with the governor to move forward with the important work of recovering and rebuilding in our city."  


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