(The Center Square) – Gov. Tim Walz announced he’s preparing the Minnesota National Guard to provide public-safety assistance if necessary during the trial of former Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter.
The mobilization to readiness follows a request made by the Brooklyn Center and Hennepin County.
“Out of an abundance of caution, we are prepared to ask members of the Minnesota National Guard to be available to support local law enforcement with the mission of allowing for peaceful demonstrations, keeping the peace, and ensuring public safety,” Walz said in a statement.
At this time, the Minnesota National Guard will not be proactively assuming posts throughout the Twin Cities. Should they be needed, Guard members will operate in support of local law enforcement. The state will provide additional law enforcement resources, including the Minnesota State Patrol if a coordinated response to aid local law enforcement is necessary.
Walz’s actions are authorized by Executive Order 21-06.
In April, Potter fatally shot 20-year-old Daunte Wright during a traffic stop when she apparently confused a gun with her taser. Wright had a warrant out for his arrest for a weapons charge. Body camera footage shows Potter shooting him and his car accelerating away. Right afterward, Potter said, “I just shot him. … I grabbed the wrong (expletive) gun!”
Then, she dropped to the curb, saying, “I shot him, oh my God, oh my God.”
She faces two counts of first-degree manslaughter and second-degree manslaughter and has pleaded “not guilty” to both.
Brooklyn Center is nine miles from Minneapolis. The trial follows more than a year after rioters in May 2020 caused $500 million of damage to the Twin Cities. Republicans blamed Walz for much of the damage, saying he didn’t activate the National Guard fast enough.