Minnesota activating 1,000 additional soldiers to contain Minneapolis riots

Minnesota is activating 1,000 more soldiers from the National Guard to help bring widespread rioting in the Twin Cities and elsewhere under control.

Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General Jon Jensen and Governor Tim Walz announced the request during an early morning news conference on Saturday as fires once again burned around Minneapolis.

Governor Walz says the state has already deployed the largest civilian force in the state's history -- and it's still not enough.

"This is the largest civilian deployment in Minnesota history that we have out there today and quite candidly right now, we do not have the numbers," Walz said. "We cannot arrest people when we are trying to hold ground because of the sheer size, the dynamics and the wanton violence.”

By Saturday evening, Maj. General Jensen hopes the state will have 1,700 soldiers ready to go.

Friday, protests moved towards Minneapolis' Fifth Precinct off Nicollet Avenue. Our crews spotted several fires set in the area of the precinct while a large crowd gathered nearby.

Elsewhere, crowds of people climbed onto I-35W and I-94, blocking traffic and, in one instance, looting a USPS semi that was forced to stop for rioters.

Our crews witnessed few attempts by police to intervene until around 11 p.m. when the Department of Public Safety sent in 350 troopers and officers to clear out the area near the Fifth Precinct.

DPS Commissioner John Harrington said leaders were forced to target areas they could handle, like the Fifth Precinct area and parts of Lake Street.

Harrington says more than 2,500 officers are working to keep the peace in the Twin Cities. But still, Harrington says more resources will be needed.

"We will need far more law enforcement and more National Guard resources than we have now," said Harrington.

Harrington also said reports of shots fired and projectiles being fired at officers complicated the response.

Jensen also backed a report that the Pentagon had readied military police to move into Minneapolis. The decision came a night after President Trump threatened to use force to stop looting in the Twin Cities.

According to the report, the soldiers in New York and North Carolina have been told to prepare to go in as little as four hours, if deployed.

However, Governor Walz says the state is considering all options and the consequences that could come with bringing in federal help.