(The Center Square) – Gov. Tim Walz activated the Minnesota National Guard on Thursday to assist local law enforcement in protecting the greater Twin Cities.
“In light of developments in the George Floyd case, we’ve taken the precautionary step of asking the Minnesota National Guard to prepare to help ensure safety for Minnesotans,” Walz said in a statement. “I want to remind Minnesotans that today’s ruling marks a positive step in the path toward justice for George Floyd.”
The mobilization follows a request made by the city of Minneapolis, influenced by Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter A. Cahill dropping a third-degree murder charge against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, but sustaining charges of second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Cahill denied a motion to dismiss the charges for the three other former police officers named in the case: J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao.
Cahill sustained the following charges against the following defendants:
- Kueng: Aiding and abetting second-degree murder, aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter
- Lane: Aiding and abetting second-degree murder, aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter
- Thao: Aiding and abetting second-degree murder, aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter
The four former officers were fired after the May 25 death of Floyd, and a widely watched video of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes.
In a tweet Thursday, Walz called the ruling an “Important step toward justice for George Floyd.”
The Minnesota National Guard is currently mobilizing 100 National Guard soldiers and is providing equipment and facilities to support public safety services.
The Minnesota State Patrol has mobilized an unspecified number of state troopers as part of a coordinated response to aid local law enforcement.
Riots following Floyd’s death have cost taxpayers $13 million for the original National Guard deployment, $11 million for repaying state agencies through a bonding bill, and an unknown amount for Minnesota businesses caught in the middle of an estimated damage total of $500 million.