ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX 9) - Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said Friday there are no credible, immediate threats to the Minnesota State Capitol, however, there will still be increased security around the complex ahead of planned protests this weekend and through President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration next week.
"If come to the Capitol to commit violent crimes, we will stop you," Harrington warned. "We will hold you accountable."
Harrington spoke at a news conference on Friday afternoon alongside Gov. Tim Walz, Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General Shawn Manke, Minnesota State Patrol Chief Colonel Matt Langer and St. Paul Police Chief Todd Axtell.
An FBI bulletin that went out at the end of December warned of potential attacks at state capitols nationwide. However, Harrington said as of Friday morning, the FBI’s Minnesota field office told him there is "no credible, local, immediate threat" to the state Capitol.
Harrington said state officials have looked at "all the different vulnerabilities" at the state Capitol. "No detail has been overlooked," he said. The state has been coordinating with Homeland Security, FBI and local law enforcement officials. He said authorities have also been looking at potential secondary targets in Minnesota at elected officials' homes.
A conservative group that organized last week’s "Storm the Capitol" rally has two more events planned this weekend at the state Capitol in St. Paul.
Walz has activated the Minnesota National Guard to help with security during the protests and respond to any possible threats.
Security restrictions in place around state Capitol complex
DPS says some of the security measures will be visible to the public, but not all. People should expect to see State Patrol troopers, Department of Natural Resources conservation officers and National Guard soldiers patrolling the Capitol. The fence that was put up around the Capitol during the unrest over the summer remains in place.
Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General Shawn Manke said Friday a little more than 100 military police will be at the state Capitol initially, but the response can be "scaled" based on the threat level.
There will also be traffic restrictions in place around the Capitol. Foot traffic will be allowed, but only state agency employees, contractors, deliveries and those with official state business will be able to drive in the restricted area.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety is asking people who do not have a planned activity or business at the Capitol to consider visiting at another time, according to a news release.
There's been no discussion of imposing a curfew this weekend, Harrington said.
Minnesota History Center closing for weekend
The Minnesota Historical Society says it is closing the History Center on Saturday and Sunday due to concerns over public safety during the planned protests at the state Capitol this weekend.
MNHS said the decision was made in consultation with DPS and the State Patrol.
The History Center is located on the state Capitol complex in downtown St. Paul.
USPS mailboxes around state Capitol temporarily removed
The U.S. Postal Service is temporarily removing some blue mailboxes near the Minnesota State Capitol ahead of the planned protests this weekend.
The mailboxes at the following four sites are be removed:
- 20 12th St W, St. Paul, MN 55101
- 95 John Ireland Blvd, St. Paul, MN 55101
- 95 University Ave W, St. Paul, MN 55101
- 175 Aurora Ave, St. Paul, MN 55103
To find the nearest collection boxes to use in the meantime, click here.