Walz OKs Guard patrols ahead of Floyd cops' trial verdict, amid Mpls. police shooting

Federal Civil Rights Trial
Fencing surrounds the Warren E. Burger Federal Building in January where three former Minneapolis police officers face charges that they violated the civil rights of George Floyd on May 25, 2020.
Tim Evans for MPR News file

Updated: 4:30 p.m.

Gov. Tim Walz has OK’d the use of the Minnesota National Guard to help with public safety amid two potential flashpoints: the coming verdict in the trial of three ex-Minneapolis cops accused of violating George Floyd’s civil rights, and the Minneapolis police killing of Amir Locke.

The order does not direct the National Guard to assume posts throughout the Twin Cities at this time.

In a statement Friday afternoon, Walz said he made the move out of an “abundance of caution” for the safety of Minnesotans and at the request of the city of St. Paul, site of the trial of the three ex-officers.

That trial was suspended this week when one of the defendants tested positive for COVID. It will resume Monday.

Walz says the National Guard will also be prepared should Minneapolis request additional public safety support following the death of Locke, the 22-year-old Black man killed by Minneapolis police on Wednesday.

No figures were posted yet on the size of timing of a deployment. Minnesota will provide additional law enforcement resources, including the Minnesota State Patrol, if necessary, Walz added.

The DFL governor also put the Minnesota Guard in a state of readiness during the trial of Kimberly Potter last December, at the request of Hennepin County and Brooklyn Center. Potter was convicted of manslaughter in the death of Daunte Wright. She is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 18.

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