St. Paul and Minneapolis residents will both be under mandatory curfew starting at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights.
Gov. Tim Walz, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey announced the curfews Friday afternoon.
The curfews will extend from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. both nights. Carter encouraged residents to begin Friday night’s curfew with an hour of prayer in their chosen faith.
“During the hours of curfew, all persons must not travel on any public street or in any public place,” the Minneapolis order reads. That includes driving, it says, although it makes an exception for people going to and from work.
The unprecedented crackdown, which will be enforced by a host of authorities, including the Minnesota National Guard and State Patrol, comes after an afternoon and evening of chaos in the streets of the two cities, where looting and arson ran amok, and police struggled to maintain — or completely lost — control.
Here’s how it came to this: What began as protests following the death Monday of George Floyd, a black man who was videotaped under the knee of a white police officer, steadily grew more violent for several days. The officer, Derek Chauvin, was swiftly fired; Chauvin was arrested Friday morning.
On Thursday afternoon, rampant looting broke out in several areas of St. Paul, especially in a commercial ctrip along University Avenue in the city’s Midway neighborhood. St. Paul police reported at least 170 buildings had been vandalized.
The events reached a crescendo later in the evening, when Minneapolis police essentially surrendered their 3rd Precinct headquarters to a mob, who overran the building and set it ablaze.
Around midnight, the state assumed control of the scene, and the State Patrol and National Guard cleared the area and have held it since.
A militarized presence could already be felt by Friday morning, as armed guardsman and Humvees were posted around that scene, as well as other sites around the cities, including the state Capitol complex in St. Paul.
The curfews are expansive.
According to the Minneapolis order, which is intended to be nearly identical to the St. Paul one:
- “No travel” means nothing, not on foot, bike, car, public transit, or even “skateboard.”
- “Public place” appears to cover everywhere you might go except your own yard, if you have one, according to a list of prohibited spaces, which includes vacant lots and parks.
- A violation is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and up 90 days in jail.
While only St. Paul and Minneapolis have announced curfews, Walz said that mayors across the state are free to issue their own.
Law enforcement, fire and medical personnel are exempt.
Also exempt are people going to and from work, journalists, people in need of medical assistance, and those “fleeing dangerous circumstances, or experiencing homelessness.” The mayors of each city also appear to have the ability to exempt other individuals as they see fit.
By Dave Orrick