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Pentagon puts military police on alert to go to Minneapolis at President Trump’s order

george floyd protesters
AP via CNN
George Floyd protesters gather on the streets of Minneapolis.

WASHINGTON, DC -- As unrest spread across dozens of American cities on Friday, the Pentagon took the rare step of ordering the Army to put several active-duty U.S. military police units on the ready to deploy to Minneapolis, where the police killing of George Floyd sparked the widespread protests.

Soldiers from Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Fort Drum in New York have been ordered to be ready to deploy within four hours if called, according to three people with direct knowledge of the orders. Soldiers in Fort Carson, in Colorado, and Fort Riley in Kansas have been told to be ready within 24 hours. The people did not want their names used because they were not authorized to discuss the preparations.

The get-ready orders were sent verbally on Friday, after President Donald Trump asked Defense Secretary Mark Esper for military options to help quell the unrest in Minneapolis after protests descended into looting and arson in some parts of the city.

Trump made the request on a phone call from the Oval Office on Thursday night that included Esper, National Security Advisor Robert O’ Brien and several others. The president asked Esper for rapid deployment options if the Minneapolis protests continued to spiral out of control, according to one of the people, senior Pentagon official who was on the call.

”When the White House asks for options, someone opens the drawer and pulls them out so to speak.” the official said.

The person said the military units would be deployed under the Insurrection Act of 1807, which was last used in 1992 during the riots in Los Angeles that followed the Rodney King trial.

“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, a Washington D.C.-based attorney, who specializes in national security.

Members of the police units were on a 30-minute recall alert early Saturday, meaning they would have to return to their bases inside that time limit in preparation for deployment to Minneapolis inside of four hours. Units at Fort Drum are slated to head to Minneapolis first, according to the three people, including two Defense Department officials. Roughly 800 U.S. soldiers would deploy to the city if called.

Protests erupted in Minneapolis this week after video emerged showing a police officer kneeling on Floyd's neck. Floyd later died of his injuries and the officer, Derek Chauvin, was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter on Friday.

The protests turned violent and on Thursday rioters torched the Minneapolis Third Police Precinct near where Floyd was arrested. Mayor Jacob Frey ordered a citywide curfew at 8 p.m. local time, beginning on Friday. In that city, peaceful protests picked up steam as darkness fell, with thousands of people ignoring the curfew to walk streets in the southern part of the city. Some cars were set on fire in scattered neighborhoods, business break-ins began and eventually there were larger fires.

The unrest has since spread across the country, with protests, some violent, erupting in cities including Washington DC, Atlanta, Phoenix, Denver and Los Angelas.

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz ordered 500 of his National Guard troops into Minneapolis, St. Paul, and surrounding communities.

But a Pentagon spokesman said Walz did not ask for the Army to be deployed to his state.

“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.” Title 10 is the U.S. law that governs the armed forces, and would authorize active duty military to operate within the U.S.

Alyssa Farah, the White House director of strategic communications said the deployment of active-duty military police is untrue.

“False: off the record - title 10 not under discussion,” said Farah in an email response. No off-record agreement was negotiated with The Associated Press.

The 16th Military Police Brigade forwarded the AP's questions to the Defense Department.

The three officials with direct knowledge of the potential deployment say the orders are on a classified system, known as the Secret Internet Protocol Router or SIPR for short.

Active-duty forces are normally prohibited from acting as a domestic law enforcement agency. But the Insurrection Act offers an exception.

The Insurrection Act would allow the military to take up a policing authority it otherwise would not be allowed to do, enforcing state and federal laws,”said Stephen Vladeck, a University of Texas School of Law professor who specializes in constitutional and national security law.

The statute “is deliberately vague” when it comes to the instances in which the Insurrection Act could be used, he said. The state’s governor could ask President Donald Trump to take action or Trump could act on his own authority if he’s determined that the local authorities are so overwhelmed that they can’t adequately enforce the law, Vladeck said.

“It is a very, very broad grant of authority for the president,” he added.

Military / News / Top Stories / Video

Associated Press

Comments

17 Comments

  1. The President gave the worthless mayor and governor a chance to quell the riot, but it seems they are too weak to handle it. Declare Marshal law and shoot looters/rioters.

    1. Just another idiotic idea from the cop who couldn’t shoot straight. What do you think this is ,Tiananmen Square? We are not in China, dummy. Start shooting people left and right, and the current unrest will look like a picnic in the park. MoronMike repeats everything his clueless president says. Think for yourself, that’s what you have a brain is for. Or do you even have one?

      1. Screw you. We are sick and tired of this Liberal hatred. None of you should be saying a word this morning. This unrest is all fault. It’s driven by your hate. Obama’s hated for America and his divisiveness is coming to a head. You should all be ashamed for every voting for any Democrat.

          1. Let me give you a very simple lesson in Biology that most Liberals don’t understand. If you are born with a penis you are a male. If you are born with a vagina you are a girl. I was born with a penis. Please refer to me as the gender God gave me.

          2. Your hypocrisy is deafening. You and your 5 alias come on here everyday and make up lies about Trump and Republicans and are clearly obsessed with him but I make a factual statement about Obama and the Democrat hate agenda and I’m crying? Ok got it.

  2. Military Police are not the bad guys here. They have a lot more training than city police. The undergo rigorous arms training and racial and ethnic sensitivity education every year of their military stint. They are out there now in the middle of a mess created by city cops that have not been properly trained and have dubious racial beliefs. Respect the MPs they are not only responsible for controlling civil unrest, but they are also liable to be deployed into a war zone to fight for our democracy and freedom in the USA.

    1. Yeah, do you know why? Weak Democratic run cities with democratic unions leadership funded by George Soros with democratic policy that support criminals over citizens. This is the Obama America that President Trump is trying to save us from. Democrats are nothing but evil, evil people who need to be stopped. The democrats own these riots. This is their fault. Every riot occurred in Liberal cities. VOTE THEM ALL OUT. They allowed paid liberal domestic terrorists to come into their cities and destroy them.

      1. Lady, you put blanket blame on Democrats for everything that’s going on in America. Wait, Republicans do no wrong, they are perfection exemplified, they the Nirvana of the masses. Your President is the Greatest thing since sliced bread. Lady you are so Brainwashed Jim Jones would be proud of you. Stop your silly rantings and get a hobby. You never make any sense, Grandma.

        1. Republicans showed up to a Michigan Capital heavily armed but PEACFUL and they are called Terrorists. Liberal rioters destroy entire cities and they are called “Protestors”. You figure it out. Beto is funded by George Soros. You support Beto. Therefore you are part of the problem.

        2. EVERY single city dealing with riots and police brutality are run by democrats with democratic appointed police chiefs. It’s not hard to figure out. Yes there are bad Republicans. We call them RINOs. Margo has become one. John McCain was one. You call for better police training, well guess what? the Democrat appointed Police Chief in Minneapolis admitted that the neck hold was a taught technique. Maybe if Democrats stopped worrying how many genders there are, getting as many illegals into the country as possible and worrying about Trump being a “Meany” they could actually get something worthwhile done.

          1. Your narrow minded opinions count for nothing. Run for a government position if you want change. See where your Nazi beliefs get you in El Paso. You wouldn’t be elected for dog catcher, Mr. OriginalNada.

  3. OriginalNada is the Original Illegal. My people have been in El Paso for more than a Thousand years. While your ilk has been here for a little more than 2hundred years and have been calling yourselves owner of the land since then. Your starving, ragged, ancestors who came to my land would have been dead in six months if it wasn’t for us. Ingrates.

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