Protesters are shot with pepper spray as they confront police outside the Third Police Precinct on May 27, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Stephen Maturen | Getty Images
A second day of protests, unrest and looting Thursday in the wake of the death of George Floyd shut down mass transit in the Twin Cities as lawmakers pleaded for peace.
Gov. Tim Walz signed an executive order Thursday activating the Minnesota National Guard. A statement from the governor’s office said the order was needed after “extensive damage to private property occurred and peaceful protests evolved into a dangerous situation for protesters and first responders.”
Looters on Thursday broke into a Target on University Avenue in St. Paul before police arrived, sending the raiders scrambling.
But as police circled the store and faced off with an angry crowd, looters broke into a T.J. Maxx close by and made off with whatever they could carry.
“Please stay home. Please do not come here to protest,” St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter said in a statement late Thursday afternoon.
“Please keep the focus on George Floyd, on advancing our movement, and on preventing this from ever happening again. We can all be in that fight together.”
Metro Transit, which operates light rail and buses in Minneapolis and St. Paul, announced it’d be shutting down almost all services at 4 p.m. CDT for the rest of Thursday.
An airport shuttle and its Northstar commuter line were all that remained operational.
“Out of concern for the safety of riders and employees, Metro Transit bus and light rail service will be suspended,” the transit agency announced at about 2:30 p.m.
Hours earlier, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, City Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins and Police Chief Medaria Arradondo all pleaded for calm.
“We must restore the peace so we can do this hard work together,” Frey said.
Jenkins said protesters should be angry about Floyd’s death in police custody, but they have no right to “perpetrate violence and harm on the very communities that you say you are standing up for.”
“We need peace and calm in our streets, and I am begging you for that calm,” she added.
Gabe Gutierrez reported from Minneapolis and St. Paul, and David K. Li from New York.