President Donald Trump has deployed U.S. troops on their home soil.
In a tweet on Friday, he announced that he had activated the National Guard in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in response to riots that erupted following the death of George Floyd while in police custody.
“The National Guard has arrived on the scene,” he wrote. “They are in Minneapolis and fully prepared. George Floyd will not have died in vain. Respect his memory!!!”
Although protests have spread to several U.S. cities and even American embassies in other nations, Minneapolis has been turned upside down by rioting and looting after Floyd died there on Monday. Officer Derek Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
Much of the city has been impacted by the destructive protests, which have left stores, pharmacies, and even a police precinct destroyed.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, a Democrat, signed an executive emergency order on Thursday calling in the National Guard. An initial influx of 500 members is expected to increase in the coming days.
“We have activated more than 500 soldiers to St. Paul, Minneapolis and surrounding communities,” the Minnesota National Guard announced in a statement. “Our mission is to protect life, preserve property and the right to peacefully demonstrate. A key objective is to ensure fire departments are able to respond to calls.”
“That’s the truth”
In addition to property owners, law enforcement officers, and elected officials, Floyd’s loved ones are pleading with local protesters to honor their request to cease the violence and chaos.
“Floyd would not want people to get hurt,” said his fiancee, Courtney Ross. “He lived his life protecting people. That’s the truth.”
His family released a statement insisting that protesters “cannot sink to the level of our oppressors, and we cannot endanger each other as we respond to the necessary urge to raise our voices in unison and outrage.”
Deploying U.S. troops in response to American citizens is never an easy decision and usually represents a last resort. When a city is burning and lives are potentially at stake, however, state and federal authorities agree this is the best option available to protect the city and ensure Floyd’s death is not compounded by even more loss.