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Minneapolis mayor calls in National Guard after unrest downtown

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minneapolis mayor imposed a curfew Wednesday night and requested National Guard help after unrest that included violence and store looting broke out downtown following what authorities said was misinformation about the suicide death of a Black homicide suspect.

The @MNNationalGuard has received a request to activate soldiers in response to civil unrest in Minneapolis tonight. Soldiers from our military police unit are currently reporting in and preparing to depart to assist local authorities at the direction of @GovTimWalz.

— MN National Guard (@MNNationalGuard) August 27, 2020

Mayor Jacob Frey said details of the curfew which went into effect immediately were still being worked out.

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Frey said during a news conference Wednesday night that he and Gov. Tim Walz had been in contact to address the situation. Frey said bolstering enforcement was an effort to “stay ahead of the game as much as possible.”

“What we’re calling for right now is peace,” Frey said. “What we’re calling for right now is for people to return to their homes.”

Minneapolis was rocked by protests that turned violent after George Floyd, a handcuffed Black man, died after a white police officer pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes on May 25. Demonstrators also have gathered in downtown Minneapolis this week to protest after Jacob Blake, a Black man, was shot multiple times by police in Wisconsin on Sunday, leaving him paralyzed.

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo dispelled rumors on social media about the death of an unidentified Black man suspected in a Wednesday afternoon homicide, who later fatally shot himself on the Nicollet Mall as officers approached. The incident, which was captured on city surveillance video and released by police within 90 minutes, nonetheless sparked protests and looting in the heart of downtown.

Minneapolis Police stand outside a looted Foot Locker store on S. 7th St., Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020 in Minneapolis. The Minneapolis mayor imposed a curfew Wednesday night and requested National Guard help after unrest broke out downtown following what authorities said was misinformation about the death of a Black homicide suspect.Jeff Wheeler / Star Tribune via AP

The video confirmed the police account of what happened and showed the man glancing over his shoulder before pulling out the gun and firing, then collapsing to the ground as a half-dozen witnesses ran away with their hands in the air, according to the Star Tribune. The officers, one of whom had his gun drawn, shooed a remaining witness away and kicked the suspect’s gun away before performing chest compressions.

“This is not an officer-related incident,” Arradondo said. “We’re compounding more tragedy by the destruction and folks wanting to do harm to our communities in our downtown sector this evening.”

“This is my city. We will not tolerate that,” he continued.

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