U.S. military police could be sent to George Floyd protests in Minneapolis under a law not used since the Rodney King riots, the Associated Press reported.
The Pentagon ordered the Army to ready personnel from North Carolina and New York for deployment in Minnesota amid unrest over the police killing of Floyd while he was in custody, according to the wire service.
Three unnamed sources told AP that the soldiers from Fort Bragg and Fort Drum were expected to be ready for deployment within four hours of receiving an order to deal with the ongoing protests in Minneapolis.
President Donald Trump asked Defense Secretary Mark Esper to make the option available in a Thursday night phone call. A senior Pentagon official on the call told AP that the military police units would be sent to Minneapolis under the Insurrection Act of 1807.
Under the terms of the law, the president has the power to deploy American troops in any state to suppress “any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy.”
Members of the National Guard hold a perimeter as a fire crew works to put out a fire at a gas station on Lake Street on May 29, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Stephen Maturen/Getty Images
Former President George H. W. Bush invoked the powers of the Insurrection Act in 1992, giving U.S. armed forces the green light to break up the Los Angeles riots. The unrest was sparked by the acquittal of police officers charged with using excessive force in the arrest of Rodney King.
As some protests over the Monday killing of Floyd, an unarmed black man being detained by police officers, turned violent in Minneapolis, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz ordered 500 National Guard troops into the area.
However, a Pentagon spokesman told AP that no request had been made for active duty military personnel.
“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 Department of Defense said.
White House director of strategic communications Alyssa Farah also told the news outlet that Title 10 was “not under discussion” as of Friday night.
Newsweek has contacted the Pentagon and White House for further comment. This article will be updated with any responses.
Clashes between police and protesters continued on Friday and into Saturday as curfews were issued in Minnesota in an effort to combat the mass unrest over Floyd’s death.
The city of Minneapolis how now been placed under an 8 p.m. curfew, with further protesting expected as new footage emerged of three white officers pinning down the unarmed black man.
Derek Chauvin, the officer who put his knee on Floyd’s neck while attempting to arrest him, was cuffed on Friday and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
However, the other two other officers filmed pinning down Floyd have not yet been arrested.
At a press conference on Thursday, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo apologized to Floyd’s family over his death in police custody.
“I am absolutely sorry for the pain, the devastation and trauma that Mr. Floyd’s death has left on his family, his loved ones, our community in Minneapolis and certainly across the country and the world,” he said.