Minnesota Gov. Walz vows to restore order to Twin Cities rocked by protests

David K. Li

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz vowed to restore order to the Twin Cities on Friday, a day after crowds torched a police station and looted stores in reaction to the death of George Floyd.

Walz pleaded with Minnesotans to bring peace to the streets and an end to unrest that broke out in Minneapolis and St. Paul on Thursday, culminating with a police station being burned.

"We have to restore order to our society before we can start addressing the issues, before we turn back to where we should be spending our energy, making sure that justice is served," Walz told reporters in St. Paul on Friday.

"I just want to be very clear … the plan going forward (is) to insure tonight that our buildings do not burn, our citizens are secure and the space we’re going to create allows us to get back to the conversation of serving justice."

Walz promised to bring an end to "48 hours of anarchy" and questioned Minneapolis city officials for not taking on protesters and arsonists outside a police station Thursday night.

"If this would have been executed correctly the state would not lead on this," Walz said. "So now today, we're taking that, we're making the decision to go ahead and move forward."

An angry crowd descended on the Minneapolis Police Department's 3rd Precinct station house, the base of four officers connected to Floyd's death earlier this week, and set the building on fire late Thursday night.

State-backed forced moved into that area between 12:15 a.m. and 3:40 a.m. to restore order, the governor said.

“That (the police station fire) was the turning point, where we were prepared and that's where we moved in," Walz said. "That‘s where we did not believe the Third (Precinct station house) should be given up. "

The National Guard has been deployed to keep the peace, and Attorney General Keith Ellison urged Twin City residents to afford that force respect they might not give Minneapolis police.

"I’d like everyone to recognize the fact the National Guard just a week ago was administering COVID-19 tests to help people," Ellison said.

"Don't react to them the way you might react to the Minneapolis Police Department. It's not the same group. They have different leadership, different authority and their job is to try to bring peace and calm back again. Please remember this is not the group that you associate with unfair conduct — but is a group that just a week ago was trying to make sure Minnesotans could survive."

Floyd was handcuffed and face down when officer Derek Chauvin was videotaped putting he knee on the man's neck for about eight minutes.

Throughout the ordeal, Floyd — whom police approached on suspicion of allegedly passing a fake $20 bill — pleaded for help and repeatedly said: "I can't breathe."

Chauvin and three colleagues, who were nearby but didn't appear to intervene on Floyd's behalf, were all fired.

Related: Minneapolis' 3rd Precinct Station was set on fire Thursday evening during a third night of protests over the death of George Floyd.

Protests against police brutality, sparked by Floyd's death, broke out Thursday night in Los Angeles, Denver and New York.

In Louisville, shots were fired during civil unrest as protesters decried the deaths of Floyd and Louisville paramedic Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old black woman.

Taylor was killed by Louisville police on March 13 when they charged into her apartment with a no-knock warrant to search for drugs, according to a lawsuit by the family. Her boyfriend, who had license to possess firearms, called 911 and opened fire on who he believed were intruders.

Police shot and killed Taylor and no drugs were found at that home.