Minneapolis, MN – The Minnesota National Guard activated 100 members of the 257th Military Police Company on Wednesday on the orders of Minnesota Governor Tim Walz to be deployed if Minneapolis law enforcement needs assistance.
Walz took the action on June 16 after two weeks of protests following the officer-involved fatal shooting of Winston “Boogie” Smith led to the death of a protester who was run down while blocking a roadway, KMSP reported.
Protests erupted after Smith was fatally shot by members of a U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) task force on June 3 who were trying to arrest him on a warrant for gun charges.
The task force, which was largely made up of local law enforcement but did not include any Minneapolis police officers, said the suspect was sitting in a parked car when officers tried to take him into custody, KSTP reported.
USMS said the fugitive ignored officers’ commands and drew a handgun, according to Reuters.
“During the incident, the subject, who was in a parked car, failed to comply and produced a handgun resulting in task force members firing upon the subject,” the official USMS statement read.
Smith was fatally shot and pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics, KSTP reported.
State investigators have said there is no bodycam, dashcam, or security camera video from the incident.
Court documents showed that Smith was a career criminal with 20 convictions for minor offenses, three drug-related convictions, and an aggravated robbery conviction for beating his former girlfriend’s face to a pulp, FOX News reported.
Despite his checkered past, activists have gathered every day for the two weeks since Smith died to protest his death.
On Sunday night, a female protester was killed when a man believed to be under the influence drove his SUV through a group of protesters blocking the intersection at West Lake Street and Girard Avenue South near where Smith was shot.
Witnesses said the driver of the SUV was going at a high rate of speed and appeared to accelerate before he slammed into the protesters, Minnesota Public Radio reported.
On Wednesday, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey asked the governor for help, FOX News reported.
Frey sent a letter to Walz on June 16 that asked that “the state make Minnesota National Guard assets available to assist in ensuring calm and order throughout the city, without immediately being deployed,” according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
It was at least the fifth time that the Minneapolis mayor has asked the governor to send in the National Guard since George Floyd died on May 25, 2020.
Hours after receiving the letter, Walz told reporters he “gave the Minnesota National Guard a warning order to start preparing to assist local law enforcement should they need help,” the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
The @MNNationalGuard has activated approximately 100 Soldiers from the 257th Military Police Company at the request of the city of Minneapolis for potential support to civil unrest within the city.
— MN National Guard (@MNNationalGuard) June 16, 2021
The city said that Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo has requested National Guardsmen be partnered with teams of law enforcement officers if they are deployed to the city again, FOX News reported.
Chief Arradondo requested that members of the National Guard be assigned to property protection details and traffic control, rather than getting involved in crowd control and taking on protesters.