Updated: August 27, 2020 06:23 PM
Created: August 27, 2020 11:23 AM
Thursday, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, city council member Lisa Goodman, Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, Fire Chief John Fruetel, and other city officials provided an update following unrest in the city Wednesday night.
"What transpired yesterday does not bring us closer to safety, it does not bring us closer to advancing racial justice in the way that we all want," Frey said.
Frey said downtown businesses already struggling in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and after unrest following the death of George Floyd, "were even further impacted."
"We will not abide by lawlessness," Frey continued. "We will not tolerate deliberate and malicious destruction of our neighborhood and of our businesses."
Frey announced city officials have decided a citywide curfew will again be in place Thursday into Friday, from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Later Thursday, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter put out a tweet that stated, due to the civil unrest Wednesday night, St. Paul will institute a curfew from 8 p.m. Thursday until 6 a.m. Friday.
Frey thanked police, firefighters and city staff "that stepped up to help stabilize our city." He also thanked community partners and media "who came downtown to tell the truth, to get accurate information out there and to the public."
Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said there will be in excess of about 1,000 peace officers in the Twin Cities Thursday night to ensure it's a peaceful night. That includes officers from several agencies, including the Minnesota State Patrol and Minnesota National Guard.
The curfew is in effect from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Troopers and other law enforcement officers will arrest anyone who refuses to follow orders to leave an area.— MN State Patrol (@MnDPS_MSP) August 27, 2020
Harrington added that closing interstates is an option officials will consider if needed but said he hopes it won't be necessary.
Similarly, Goodman thanked city officials for "all that they are doing to stand up for our residents, our business owners, and all of those workers who are currently employed but might not be if there's more violence going forward."
"We are at a turning point with our downtown where we don't realize that we are ripping away at the whole fabric of the city by this lawless behavior and we should not stand for it anymore," Goodman said.
Arradondo, meanwhile, said approximately 50 arrests were made Wednesday night in Minneapolis.
He said arrests were made for probable cause riot, burglary and obstruction. Roughly 29% of those arrested were from St. Paul, 25% were from Minneapolis, and 43% were from other Minnesota cities, and some individuals were from out of state, Arradondo stated.
Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson later clarified that the final total number of arrests made was 132.
"These individuals were not peacefully protesting or assembling," Arradondo said. "They were looting, they were creating vandalism, they were burglarizing, trying to set buildings ablaze."
In terms of fire damage, Fruetel said firefighters were able to knock down all four reported fires, adding that the majority of fires were contained in the room or building of origin. Those buildings, while damaged, remain standing, Fruetel said.
Fruetel said the fires remain under investigation.
Going forward, Arradondo said there will continue to be an active police presence during the curfew Thursday night.
"Last night, we experienced compounded trauma in our city," Arradondo said. "We are no longer going to tolerate lawlessness. We can no longer have productive, real, genuine and authentic conversations and actions about race relations, about race and policing, which I absolutely will continue to have and speak out on, we can't have that when we have individuals who will try to hijack the narrative."
Arradondo went on to state, "I have said that if we're silent, we can be complicit. And that means where there are egregious conduct within the police department, I have to call that out. But our communities also have to call out when individuals are causing harm. We can no longer remain silent."
In terms of damage, Minneapolis City Coordinator Mark Ruff said an assessment is underway, and city staff is reaching out to business owners to offer support.
Watch the full news conference via the player below.
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