Minneapolis riot report leaves out Gov. Walz’s unnecessary delay in sending national guard while the city burned

This week, the Minneapolis City Council released a long-awaited report analyzing the city’s response to protest and civil unrest in the wake of George Floyd’s killing by Minneapolis police. Remarkably, this report fails to account for Governor Walz’s unnecessary delay sending in the National Guard in a crisis situation. In fact, the report says no one from the state even bothered to talk to the report’s author even after requests for comments were made.

There has been much discussion and consternation regarding the request for and ultimate response of the Minnesota National Guard (MNG), and to a lesser extent, assistance from other agencies such as the Minnesota State Patrol. We attempted to connect with any representatives from these agencies who might share some insight regarding the requests, but we were unsuccessful.

What we do know is that Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey made a direct request to Gov. Walz for National Guard assistance during a phone call at 6:29 pm on Wed., May 27. Hours later, a written request seeking 600 national guard soldiers was sent for Gov. Walz’s consideration and approval. This request was ignored. The next day, the 3rd precinct was burned down by rioters.

The report speculates that the information provided by Minneapolis may have been insufficient to allow Gov. Walz to decide whether to deploy the guard.

We cannot definitively say that this void in information surrounding the request is the cause for the delay in response, but it is common for the lack of such information to delay or prohibit the authorization of the deployment of military resources in a domestic situation.

We still don’t know why Gov. Walz ignored the request. The report cites various policies and procedures necessary to formally request national guard assets to support local law enforcement. However, citing policies misses the mark.

Every sensible policy has a carve-out to provide help in a crisis situation when lives or property are at stake. Minneapolis was burning after days of uncontrolled riots. A state bureaucrat asking a city official to fill out the right form before making a decision is not leadership. As a result of this lack of leadership, our communities suffered needless loss.

The conclusion after commissioning this after-action report at a cost to taxpayers of $229,490 is that there is no conclusion. We still don’t know whether Governor Walz would send in the guard after a formal request from a mayor because no one from his office was willing to answer a simple question from the report’s author. Minnesotans expect better of our elected leaders.