Politics

Officials Concerned Outside Groups Inciting Lawlessness Amid Minneapolis Protests

MINNEAPOLIS, MINN.—Federal, state, and local authorities have observed a changing pattern of the protests in Minneapolis and are concerned that persons from outside the state actively participated and agitated amid the protests in recent days.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said that the “dynamic [of the protest] has changed over the last several days.”

“We saw more and more people coming from outside of the city. We saw more and more people looking to cause violence in our communities and I have to say it is not acceptable,” he said during a press conference on Saturday morning.

Frey suggested to local residents not to participate in the protests anymore, as the circumstances have changed: “If you have family members or friends that are even considering protesting, this is no longer about protesting. This is no longer about verbal expression. This is about violence.”

In St. Paul, every person arrested on Friday night was from out of state, mayor Melvin Carter III told reporters.

Carter said local activists confirmed that the violent protesters are not from Minneapolis: “I hear them say: We dont know these folks. We dont know these folks who are agitated. We dont know these folks who are inciting violence. We dont know these folks were first in breaking windows.”

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.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 30, 2020

Attorney General William Barr warned on Saturday that “it is a federal crime to cross state lines or to use interstate facilities to incite or participate in violent rioting.”

“Groups of outside radicals and agitators are exploiting the situation to pursue their own separate and violent agenda,” he said. “We will enforce these laws.”

Growing Number of Protesters Have an Agenda

Thousands of protesters broke an 8 p.m. curfew imposed by Gov. Tim Walz, storming downtown areas in the twin cities area, with some looting and setting fire to stores.

A mix of ethnicities appeared to join the protest, and people of all ages were present, but the ages skewed mostly younger.

The atmosphere was chaotic, smoky, and loud and a growing number of protesters seemed to have an agenda other than justice for George Floyd. Others were rioting, looting, and burning stores nearby.

Many of the signs at the protest were the same and had “Party of Socialism and Liberation” written along the bottom under the slogan, “Jail All racist Killer Cops!”

Some people were handing out water and snacks, and later on, others were helping people affected by tear gas.

Derek Chauvin kneels on the neck of George Floyd
Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin kneels on the neck of George Floyd, a handcuffed man who was pleading that he could not breathe, in Minneapolis, on May 25, 2020. (Darnella Frazier/AP)

The death of Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis who died earlier this week in the custody of Minneapolis police, has caused a national uproar.

Protests exploded in dozens of cities around the nation including Minneapolis, Louisville, Washington, New York, Atlanta, Detroit, and some other cities on Friday night with occasional looting, arson, and vandalizing.

A widely circulated video showed Floyd lying down and handcuffed as a police officer was seen kneeling on the mans neck for nearly nine minutes. The footage showed Floyd telling officers that he “cant breathe” before his body went motionless. According to a Minneapolis Fire Department report (_