AP – Pentagon puts military police on alert to go to Minneapolis

A Department of Defense seal  

JAMES LAPORTA today May 29, 2020

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. (AP) — As unrest spread across dozens of American cities on Friday, the Pentagon took the rare step of ordering the Army to put several active-duty U.S. military police units on the ready to deploy to Minneapolis, where the police killing of George Floyd sparked the widespread protests.

Soldiers from Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Fort Drum in New York have been ordered to be ready to deploy within four hours if called, according to three people with direct knowledge of the orders. Soldiers in Fort Carson, in Colorado, and Fort Riley in Kansas have been told to be ready within 24 hours. The people did not want their names used because they were not authorized to discuss the preparations.

The get-ready orders were sent verbally on Friday, after President Donald Trump asked Defense Secretary Mark Esper for military options to help quell the unrest in Minneapolis after protests descended into looting and arson in some parts of the city.

Trump made the request on a phone call from the Oval Office on Thursday night that included Esper, National Security Advisor Robert O’ Brien and several others. The president asked Esper for rapid deployment options if the Minneapolis protests continued to spiral out of control, according to one of the people, a senior Pentagon official who was on the call.

”When the White House asks for options, someone opens the drawer and pulls them out so to speak.” the official said.

The person said the military units would be deployed under the Insurrection Act of 1807, which was last used in 1992 during the riots in Los Angeles that followed the Rodney King trial.

“If this is where the president is headed response-wise, it would represent a significant escalation and a determination that the various state and local authorities are not up to the task of responding to the growing unrest,” said Brad Moss, a Washington D.C.-based attorney, who specializes in national security.

Members of the police units were on a 30-minute recall alert early Saturday, meaning they would have to return to their bases inside that time limit in preparation for deployment to Minneapolis inside of four hours. Units at Fort Drum are slated to head to Minneapolis first, according to the three people, including two Defense Department officials. Roughly 800 U.S. soldiers would deploy to the city if called.

Protests erupted in Minneapolis this week after video emerged showing a police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck. Floyd later died of his injuries and the officer, Derek Chauvin, was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter on Friday.

The protests turned violent and on Thursday rioters torched the Minneapolis Third Police Precinct near where Floyd was arrested. Mayor Jacob Frey ordered a citywide curfew at 8 p.m. local time, beginning on Friday. In that city, peaceful protests picked up steam as darkness fell, with thousands of people ignoring the curfew to walk streets in the southern part of the city. Some cars were set on fire in scattered neighborhoods, business break-ins began and eventually there were larger fires.

The unrest has since spread across the country, with protests, some violent, erupting in cities including Washington DC, Atlanta, Phoenix, Denver and Los Angelas.

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz ordered 500 of his National Guard troops into Minneapolis, St. Paul, and surrounding communities.

But a Pentagon spokesman said Walz did not ask for the Army to be deployed to his state.

“The Department has been in touch with the Governor and there is no request for Title 10 forces to support the Minnesota National Guard or state law enforcement,” the spokesman said, Title 10 is the U.S. law that governs the armed forces, and would authorize active duty military to operate within the U.S.

Alyssa Farah, the White House director of strategic communications, said the deployment of active-duty military police is untrue.

“False: off the record – title 10 not under discussion,” said Farah in an email response. No off-record agreement was negotiated with The Associated Press.

The 16th Military Police Brigade forwarded the AP’s questions to the Defense Department.

The three officials with direct knowledge of the potential deployment say the orders are on a classified system, known as the Secret Internet Protocol Router or SIPR for short.

Active-duty forces are normally prohibited from acting as a domestic law enforcement agency. But the Insurrection Act offers an exception.

The Act would allow the military to take up a policing authority it otherwise would not be allowed to do, enforcing state and federal laws, said Stephen Vladeck, a University of Texas School of Law professor who specializes in constitutional and national security law.

The statute “is deliberately vague” when it comes to the instances in which the Insurrection Act could be used, he said. The state’s governor could ask President Donald Trump to take action or Trump could act on his own authority if he’s determined that the local authorities are so overwhelmed that they can’t adequately enforce the law, Vladeck said.

“It is a very, very broad grant of authority for the president,” he added.


Associated Press reporters Lolita Baldor, Michael Balsamo, and Zeke Miller contributed to this story.

Contact AP’s global investigative team at Investigative@ap.org.

2 thoughts on “AP – Pentagon puts military police on alert to go to Minneapolis

  1. Hi Timothy, I will send a note to your buddy with some pocket $$. But I need the correct spelling of 1st & last name & facility, & state. BC I will haveto get his prison ID. My daughter severed 2 5 yr sentences like back to back. Her crime heroin addict. I hear what you say & I am happy to help.
    I’m taking this opportunity to say thank you for not giving in or up. And thank your wife for supporting you while keeping the family together. BC I know she is sacrificing much. But hey her heart is big, its for children. I’m inspired . so if you can send me that info I would be honored to fulfill your request. Wwg1wga!
    My name , Maureen Riccio. I’m a mom, grandma. I’m 53. I resonate as a light worker in this world. I must share since I was lil girl this world bothered me. I do not know then how I knew this place is twisted, I just did. I never liked it here & just felt out of place. But now I get it. I would say I am more excited, proud to be a part of this world this America, and ALL the people in between. Due to the the work The President , the patriots, men & women like you. Its just a really good deep down refreshing to my soul to see such power, planning, integrity from yall. My question has always been where are the children.??? Where??? Now I now, I have always prayed for missing kids. Thanks for caring. I went off track a lil, but its all good!. Peace Maureen

  2. Timothy, thanks for your commitment to the children! I’m from ND and I am a retired nurse. My first nursing career was working with abused children. How people can be so evil is so difficult for me to understand. These poor kids were so mentally ill, so unhappy and trusted no one. I eventually got them to trust me and they knew how much I cared about them. The years have passed and I will never forget them. I have one question for you….. When will these people who abuse children be arrested?????

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