More states have called in the National Guard amid protests and violent rioting following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody on May 25.
The governors of Texas, Georgia, Colorado, Missouri, Utah, and California joined several other states in mobilizing the National Guard on May 30 in an effort to control those demonstrations that turn violent.
“After numerous discussions with state and local leaders, I have signed an order authorizing the activation of up to 3,000 National Guard troops statewide ahead of several planned protests on Sunday, May 31,” Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp wrote in a tweet late May 30.
“These highly trained citizen-soldiers will partner will law enforcement to preserve peace and protect Georgians in every corner of our great state,” he added.
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert also said he had activated the National Guard, adding that the state condemns violence and looting.
“I have activated the National Guard to help control the escalating situation in downtown Salt Lake City. I once again call on all who are protesting to do so peacefully,” he wrote on Twitter.
In a press release issued May 30, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said he had signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency in Missouri due to civil unrest, and noted that the Missouri National Guard and the Missouri Highway Patrol were ready to support local authorities. He didn’t say when or how they would be used.
“We are deeply saddened by the tragic death of George Floyd. We are also saddened by the acts of violence that have transpired across our nation and state in response to this event. At this time, we are taking a proactive approach to protect Missouri and its people,” Parson said.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott also activated the Guard in response to protests throughout the state, noting that “Texans have every right to exercise their first amendment rights, but violence and looting will not be tolerated.”
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis also said he had authorized the Colorado National Guard to support city officials with public safety activities through the weekend, and noted that Denver Mayor Michael Hancock had done the same to “help keep people safe and prevent further destruction.”
Hancock implemented a citywide curfew in Denver that went into effect May 30 from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., and remains in place each night until June 1. The curfew will be enforced, and violators face up to a $999 fine or one year in jail; however those who need to travel for essential activities for health and safety and employees traveling to and from work will be exempt.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said the California National Guard was being deployed to Los Angeles overnight on May 30 to “support our local response to maintain peace and safety on the streets of our city.”
Ohio, Washington state, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Minnesota, and Washington have also mobilized their National Guard in response to protests.
Widespread protests have broken out across the United States in recent days following the death of Floyd, a 46-year-old black man whom police sought to arrest outside a south Minneapolis grocery store on Memorial Day for alleged fraud.
A citizen’s cellphone video showed an officer—who has since been identified as 44-year-old Derek Chauvin—kneeling on Floyd’s neck for almost eight minutes as Floyd repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe and begged officers not to kill him. He eventually became unresponsive, with one witness noting that his nose was bleeding. The footage spread quickly on social media.
Floyd, a father of two, was pronounced dead May 25 after he was taken into custody by authorities and on May 26, all four officers involved in Floyd’s arrest—Chauvin, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, and J. Alexander Kueng—were fired from the Minneapolis Police Department, according to a news release issued by the Minneapolis Department of Public Safety.
While many people seek to peacefully protest Floyd’s death, much of the protests have degenerated into chaotic riots and wide-scale looting, particularly in Minneapolis, which has seen a majority of the rioters coming from out of state, St. Paul, Minnesota, Mayor Melvin Carter said in a press conference early May 30.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump on May 30 warned individuals who are “crossing state lines to incite violence” could be committing a federal crime, writing on Twitter: “80% of the RIOTERS in Minneapolis last night were from OUT OF STATE. They are harming businesses (especially African American small businesses), homes, and the community of good, hardworking Minneapolis residents who want peace, equality, and to provide for their families.”