Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said Saturday he believes the most recent violence in Minneapolis and St. Paul was inflamed by well-organized groups from outside the Twin Cities to take advantage of the chaos following the death of George Floyd. President Donald Trump later slammed "organized groups" for joining the protests and put the blame on radical left groups like Antifa. Minnesota officials predict there will be more chaos Saturday night, even with an 8 p.m. CT curfew, and have asked residents to stay off the streets after that time.
"These are 'Organized Groups' that have nothing to do with George Floyd. Sad!" Trump tweeted Saturday. "It's ANTIFA and the Radical Left. Don't lay the blame on others!" he later added. Trump also tweeted a reminder that crossing state lines to incite violence is a federal crime and called in Democratic governors and mayors to "get MUCH tougher" or the federal government would step in. He threatened to use the "unlimited power of our Military."
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter: "Every single person we arrested last night, I'm told, was from out of state." pic.twitter.com/VxvZ8ayZRF— NBC News (@NBCNews) May 30, 2020
During a press conference early Saturday, Walz said the violence from Friday night and early Saturday, which included looting, arson, and shooting at police and firefighters, was influenced by organized groups trained in urban warfare, reports MinnPost. He said the attacks could be about domestic terrorism and ideological extremism. Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said there was evidence of calls to right-wing extremists and white supremacists to come to Minneapolis and incite violence. "We have watched these groups grow both in brazenness and also grow in challenging approaches that we've had to adapt to," Harrington said. Walz said there could be "legitimate exercising of First Amendment rights" up until 8 p.m. CT when the curfew goes into effect.
"If you have family members or friends who are even considered protesting, this is no longer about protesting. This is no longer about verbal expression. This is about violence and we need to make sure that it stops," Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said. "The people who are doing this are not Minneapolis residents. They are coming in largely from outside of this city, from outside the region to prey on everything that we have built over the last several decades."
Minnesota Gov. Walz estimates that about 80% of those being destructive are from outside the state:
"Our heart and our solidarity are with folks who understand what happened Monday night to George Floyd ... But these folks are not them." pic.twitter.com/4wHWG6ldyM— NBC News (@NBCNews) May 30, 2020
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter said anyone starting fires was using protesters as "human shields." Officials are asking legitimate protesters to go home at 8 p.m. CT so they can "separate who are the people in our community who are hurting and need to be able to peacefully exercise their rights, from the people who are looking to break a window or start a fire or create destruction in our community," Carter explained. "Just by virtue of being out in that space, just by virtue of being a part of a crowd that the people who hope to destroy our community can hide in, that would be aiding those who seek to destroy our community."
Walz estimated 80 percent of the rioters were from outside the state and 20 percent were residents. This inspired another Trump tweet, which read, "80% of the RIOTERS in Minneapolis last night were from OUT OF STATE. They are harming businesses (especially African American small businesses), homes, and the community of good, hardworking Minneapolis residents who want peace, equality, and to provide for their families."