- The Pentagon ordered the Army to ready military police for deployment to Minneapolis amid riots incited by the death of George Floyd, a senior Pentagon official told The Associated Press.
- The protests demanding justice for Floyd turned violent on Thursday when rioters set the Minneapolis Third Police Precinct on fire near where Floyd was detained.
- A Pentagon spokesman told the AP that Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz did not ask for military police to be deployed to Minneapolis.
- Alyssa Farah, the White House director of strategic communications, reportedly denied the claim.
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The Pentagon ordered the US Army to ready its active-duty military police to deploy to Minneapolis where the death of George Floyd incited protests across the US, The Associated Press reported late Friday night.
Roughly 800 US soldiers would deploy to the city if called to the ready, AP reported.
The orders were sent Friday after President Donald Trump looked to Defense Secretary Mark Esper for immediate deployment options as tensions escalated between protesters and police officers in Minneapolis, according to the AP.
Trump called Esper, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, and several senior officials to lay out military options to assist local police in Minneapolis if the situation were to escalate, a senior Pentagon official familiar with the discussions told AP.
Soldiers from Ft. Bragg in North Carolina and Ft. Drum in New York were ordered to be ready within four hours, while soldiers from Ft. Carson in Colorado and Ft. Riley in Kansas were told be ready within 24 hours, three people with direct knowledge of the orders told AP.
Units would be deployed under the Insurrection Act of 1807, a senior official reportedly said. The measure was last used amid riots in Los Angeles prompted by the Rodney King trial in 1992, where thousands of US Army soldiers and Marines were deployed.
“If this is where the president is headed response-wise, it would represent a significant escalation and a determination that the various state and local authorities are not up to the task of responding to the growing unrest,” Brad Moss, an attorney who specializes in national security, told AP.
The Defense Department did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
However, a spokesman from the Pentagon told the AP that Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz did not ask for military police to be deployed to Minneapolis. Walz previously activated 500 Minnesota National Guard troops to Minneapolis and St. Paul to quell the unrest amid the protests.
“The Department has been in touch with the Governor and there is no request for Title 10 forces to support the Minnesota National Guard or state law enforcement,” the spokesman told AP.
Alyssa Farah, the White House director of strategic communications, reiterated the sentiment to AP, writing in an email that active military police were not being deployed to the city, and title 10 was “not under discussion.”
Protests erupted in multiple states over the death of Floyd, who died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly eight minutes while arresting him on Monday. In a viral video of the incident, Floyd could be heard begging the police officer to release him and repeatedly said, “I can’t breathe,” before becoming unresponsive. He died shortly after the incident.
Derek Chauvin, the officer who was on top of Floyd, and three other officers were fired from the Minneapolis Police Department on Tuesday. On Friday, Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter in connection with the incident.
The protests demanding justice for Floyd turned violent when rioters set the Minneapolis Third Police Precinct on fire Thursday, near where he was detained.
David Choi contributed to this report.