During a press conference on Saturday, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison gave a warning to protesters that they need to follow curfew–or else they may be mistaken for wrongdoers.
On Friday, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz tweeted that a nighttime curfew would be put in place from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Friday and Saturday night in Minneapolis and St. Paul. “in order to restore peace. “I urge Minnesotans to comply – It’s time to rebuild our community,” he wrote.
As many citizens continue to protest over the death of George Floyd, Ellison asked people to respect the curfew, because some people were trying to tarnish the protest. He said that if Minnesotans stayed out after curfew, it may create confusion.
“To be on the street after eight, means that we can’t get you separated from the bad people,” Ellison said during the press conference.
“We need your help to comply with the curfew,” he began his statement. “The people who are trying to tarnish the reputation of the noble protest for justice are out there, trying to mix in with the crowd. So that people will say, ‘Oh look at all those protesters are bad. Their cause can’t be just. They’re just out there causing trouble.’ We know that’s not what’s happening.”
He also explained that he understood that the protests were just, but outside forces were trying to interfere with the demonstrations to sabotage the protesters’ efforts.
“We know that the noble, just aims of the protesters are righteous and goods, but we also know that some evil elements are literally interfusing themselves with the protesters to destroy and cause arson, so that the whole community will have a low opinion of the protest, because they’re not for justice for Mr. Floyd, they’re against it. And they know that if we protest righteously and peacefully and justly people will — public sentiment will rise up to support our demands. So, they want to stop that.”
Ellison also encouraged people to protest over social media after 8 p.m. so that they could focus on outside agitators. “We know you’re brave. We know you’re strong. We know you never compromise on justice. We know you’re righteous, and we believe in what you’re doing, but we need to be able to stop the burning and the looting and the destruction,” he said.
Ellison also said that many protesters wanted to join in the press conference but were trying to raise awareness about Floyd’s death.
The attorney general closed his address by saying that the officer that was arrested had received “preliminary complaint” which can change to possibly add charges or charge others. “The wheels of justice are moving, and now they’re moving swiftly” he said. “What in the world does burning down Migizi and Juxtaposition Arts in the Northside have to do with justice for George Floyd? Nothing.” Before bringing up the next speaker, he once again asked protesters to respect the curfew to “restore order and build justice.”
The press conference was held by Minnesota Governor Tim Walz. Other speakers included Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan, Senator Amy Klobuchar and more.
On May 26, Ellison’s office released a statement regarding Floyd’s death. He offered his condolences to his family and loved ones. The statement spoke about the investigation that would take place, looking into Floyd’s death. “The issue of police-community relations has been a point of controversy and pain for the whole of American history. It involves centuries of trauma. In the past several years alone, almost every part of Minnesota has lived through a fatal encounter with law enforcement. George Floyd’s death raises that trauma yet again for so many people,” he wrote, before telling those who planned to protest to do so safely, especially amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Newsweek attempted to contact the attorney general’s office for this story but was unsuccessful.
In a series of tweets, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey also asked people to follow the curfews. “We are now confronting white supremacists, members of organized crime, out of state instigators, and possibly even foreign actors to destroy and destabilize our city and our region,” he wrote in one tweet.