Minnesota Governor authorizes 'full mobilization' of state's National Guard

( Fox )

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced Saturday he has authorized "full mobilization" of the state's National Guard -something that has never been done in the 164-year history of the Minnesota National Guard.

Walz, who has been hammered by residents, critics and the press for his response to the crisis in his state, pushed back on the idea that the protests, which have turned increasingly violent, now have anything to do with George Floyd, an unarmed black man in Minneapolis killed by white police officer Derek Chauvin.

"The tactics and the approach that we have taken have evolved and need to evolve the same way, with a sensitivity to the legitimate rage and anger that came after what the world witnessed in the murder of George Floyd and was manifested in a very healthy gathering of community to memorialize that Tuesday night, which was still present to a certain degree on Wednesday," he said, adding, "By Thursday it was nearly gone and last night is a mockery of pretending this is about George Floyd's death or inequities or historical traumas to our communities of color."

During his Saturday morning press conference Floyd also thanked first responders "who are out there protecting our cities."

"As they were taking incoming fire, improvised explosive devices and a highly evolved and tightly-controlled group of folks bent on adapting their tactics to make it as difficult as possible to maintain that order," he said.

Minnesota's National Guard is comprised of more than 13,000 soldiers, according to the Guard's 2019 annual report.

Reinforcements from the active-duty forces could also be on the way soon. Military police units have been put on alert. Fox News can confirm at least one unit out of Fort Drum, New York home to the U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division has been told to be ready to deploy in 4-hours if needed.

The 10th Mountain is part of the Army’s 18th Airborne Corps, which always keeps a brigade on alert ready to deploy overseas on short notice. An alert brigade from the 82nd Airborne Division was recently deployed on short notice to the Middle East in early January after the attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad.

Some officials say it’s not a coincidence its soldiers from Fort Bragg and Fort Drum, first reported by the Associated Press, which have been put on alert. Some of these soldiers are already on alert as part of the 18th Airborne Corps, which rotates an alert brigade of roughly 4,000 soldiers.

Military Police units could be used to back up law enforcement in Minnesota, but no orders have been given to deploy, officials tell Fox News.

Deploying active-duty forces in not without precedent inside the United States. In 1992, thousands of active-duty forces were dispatched to Los Angeles during the Rodney King riots under the Insurrection Act of 1807.

Floyd’s death Monday – for which four Minneapolis police officers were fired Tuesday and one of them, Derek Gauvin, was arrested and charged with third-degree murder Friday – has sparked protests and rioting across the U.S., from New York City and Washington, D.C., to Chicago; Columbus, Ohio, Louisville, Ky., and Dallas, to San Jose, Calif.; Los Angeles and Portland, Ore.

“The arrest of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the brutal killing of George Floyd is a welcome but overdue step on the road to justice,” Floyd family attorney Ben Crump said Friday, according to FOX 9. “We expected a first-degree murder charge. We want a first-degree murder charge. And we want to see the other officers arrested.”

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