Former Minneapolis police officer arrested in George Floyd's death
Author: Emily Haavik, Diane Sandberg (KARE11), KARE Staff
Published: 4:38 AM CDT May 29, 2020
Updated: 12:36 PM CDT May 29, 2020
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been arrested in connection with the death of George Floyd while in police custody.
Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Mark Harrington reappeared at the podium Friday after a news conference ended, saying that the BCA has arrested Chauvin. He did not have any information about specific charges.
Multiple sources confirmed to KARE 11 in Minneapolis that Chauvin was the officer seen on video with his knee on Floyd's neck before he died.
Governor Tim Walz held the news conference at 10:30 a.m. after another night of violence and looting in Minneapolis and St. Paul, as protests over the death of George Floyd while in police custody devolved into riots.
Walz said he received a call from State Sen. Patricia Torres Ray Thursday that District 63 was burning, and there were no police officers or Minnesota National Guard troops to help.
Governor Tim Walz held the news conference at 10:30 a.m. after another night of violence and looting in Minneapolis and St. Paul, as protests over the death of George Floyd while in police custody devolved into riots. Walz said he received a call from State Sen. Patricia Torres Ray Thursday that District 63 was burning, and there were no police officers or Minnesota National Guard troops to help.
“That is an abject failure that cannot happen," Walz said. "We must restore that order.”
Harrington said that national guard troops were called in to help Thursday, but they did not receive a “specific mission” to help clear the streets until midnight, on a call with the mayor. Harrington said Minneapolis Mayor Frey informed them they had "no more resources" and they were not able to meet public safety needs on Lake Street.
"When the Third Precinct was abandoned, it seemed that that was the time to move," Gov. Walz said.
They then had to get a plan together, Harrington said. By the time they brought state patrol, Minnesota National Guard, and other assisting crews to Lake Street, he said it was 3 a.m. They arrested some people at that time and for other looting incidents throughout the day, Harrington said, but he did not have numbers on how many. He said most people left peacefully.
Harrington said the people who were out at that hour were not the people of Minneapolis “who are still having their guts ripped out about the Floyd murder.”
“I don’t want to prejudice this,” he said regarding using the term “murder.” “I’m just calling it like I see it.”
“I can tell you that no one could have heard Mr. Floyd’s voice in the chaos of the screaming and the shouting and the fires at 1 o’clock in the morning on Lake Street,” he said. “My job is to make sure the community is safe and the team is ready and prepared to keep it safe.”
Harrington said his team, including the national guard, state troopers and DNR, is confident that they can make a plan to keep people safe Friday night while protecting First Amendment rights to protest.
“We will create a plan that will keep the peace, maintain the peace, and prevent further lawless behavior in the city of Minneapolis, the city of St. Paul and surrounding suburbs,” he said.
The governor acknowledged that the "tools" needed to restore order, including the Minnesota National Guard, are "the very same tools that have led to that grief and pain."
Those national guard troops are armed, officials confirmed Friday, and maintain the right to defend themselves, though they would not comment further on the boundaries around their use of force.
"I’m asking you to help us. Help us use a humane way to get the streets to a place where we can restore the justice," he said. "So those who are demanding justice can be heard. Not those who throw fire bombs into businesses."
Walz said that he has spoken with Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman and he is confident that "justice will be swift, that it will come in a timely manner, and that it will be fair."
"You're seeing holes in planning," Walz said, "that's for dang sure." He said Minnesotans can expect to hear what the plan is for Friday night by 2 p.m.
"Tonight needs to be different," Walz said. He promised that state troops would step into the gap.
State Attorney General Keith Ellison quoted Martin Luther King, Jr., when he asked Minnesotans not to disregard riots as only senseless violence.
"Ask yourself, what’s going on there?" he said. "And is it something that we as a society absolutely must pay attention to? I think we must pay attention." Ellison pointed out that as Minnesota National Guard troops are deployed to maintain order, they are the same people who were administering COVID-19 tests across the state last week.
"Don’t react to them the way you might react to the Minneapolis Police Department," he said.
"It’s not the same group. They have different leadership, different authority, and their job is to try to bring peace and calm back again. Please remember that this is not the group you associate with unfair conduct."
Walz said Friday that he believes the public has "lost faith" in the Minneapolis Police Department. The state's response came as businesses and homes continued to burn Thursday night and Friday morning.
Just after 10:30 p.m., a crowd stormed the building housing the Minneapolis Police Department's Third Precinct, setting it on fire. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey held a press conference just after 1 a.m. to address the continued unrest across the city. Frey said rioting posed an imminent threat to the safety of the officers and staffers within MPD's Third Precinct, forcing him to make the decision to evacuate the compound.
“Symbolism of a building cannot outweigh the importance of life or the public,” Frey said. “We could not risk serious injury to anyone… brick and mortar is not as important as life.”
However, he went on to say that progress during this crisis would not come from the government alone.
“We additionally need help from the community. We need to make sure that people are looking out for our city right now. It's not just enough to do the right thing for yourself. We need to make sure that all of us are upholding the ideals that we stand by.”
Although the mayor acknowledged the pain and frustration in recent days, he made it clear, the devastation is unacceptable.
“What we have seen over the past couple of nights in terms of looting is unacceptable. These are businesses. These are community institutions that we need. These are banks that people rely on to get cash, grocery stores that people rely on to get food … We need to ensure that they are protected.”
In St. Paul, fires burned in buildings across the street from Allianz Field. According to a post from the Saint Paul Police Department, more than 170 businesses have been damaged or looted along with dozens of fires.
President Trump also weighed in on Twitter late Thursday night, blaming the emergent social disturbance on a lack of local leadership, and threatened to send in the federal National Guard unless the city was brought under control.
The president went on to tweet, "These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!"
Twitter has since removed a portion of the president's tweet, citing violations of their user policy for glorifying violence.
Trump tweeted again Friday saying, "The National Guard has arrived on the scene. They are in Minneapolis and fully prepared. George Floyd will not have died in vain. Respect his memory!!!"