MINNEAPOLIS, MN – The state of Minnesota activated approximately 100 National Guard soldiers on Wednesday, reports say, amid the continued civil unrest and rioting in Minneapolis in response to the death of Winston Boogie Smith Jr. at the hands of a U.S. Marshals task force several weeks ago, in addition to the more recent death of a woman who was killed when a man drove his vehicle into an intersection that was blocked by protestors.
According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz had announced that he had received a request from Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey to give the state National Guard a “warning order” to prepare and standby should local law enforcement need assistance in maintaining order. This represents the fifth time Minneapolis has requested National Guard support since the May 2020 death of George Floyd.
In turn, the Minnesota National Guard issued a tweet, stating that 100 soldiers from the 257th Military Police Company have been activated and are ready if needed.
Minneapolis continues to be a hotbed of civil unrest; protestors have clashed with city officials recently as they attempted to clear the intersection of Lake Street and Hennepin Avenue, which had been closed off by activists and turned into a memorial for George Floyd.
In addition, protests continue in the wake of the shooting of Winston Boogie Smith Jr. on June 3, a convicted felon who was wanted in connection with a homicide, officials say. When confronted by a member of a U.S. Marshal Service taskforce, Smith Jr. allegedly pulled a gun on the arresting officer and was fatally shot and later pronounced dead at the scene.
And on Sunday, a woman identified as Deona Marie Knajdek Erickson, 31, was killed when a man drove an SUV into a group of protestors who were blocking the intersection of West Lake Street and Girard Avenue South. The driver, Nicholas D. Kraus, 35, was charged with second-degree unpremeditated murder, officials say.