May 30 (UPI) — President Donald Trump said Saturday that military police could deploy to Minneapolis to respond to protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death this week.
“We have our military ready, willing and able, if they ever want to call our military. We can have troops on the ground very quickly,” Trump told reporters as he left the White House to travel to Florida for the SpaceX launch Saturday. “They’re using their National Guard right now, as you know.”
Protests broke out in dozens of American cities Friday night calling for justice in the death of George Floyd Monday.
Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer seen on video standing on Floyd’s neck as Floyd gasped for air, was charged with third-degree murder Friday in connection with his death.
Friday’s protests began peacefully, but many — including demonstrations in Minneapolis — took a turn toward looting and vandalism as the night progressed.
Earlier this week demonstrators burned a police precinct building in Minneapolis.
Trump added that Minnesota government officials, who have already activated the state’s National Guard, have “got to be tough” and that protesters need to be “taught” that they “can’t do this.”
The military is prohibited from acting as domestic law enforcement, but under the Insurrection Act of 1807, state officials have the ability to call for military assistance.