Minnesota officials have claimed that outside agitators, including white supremacist groups, have infiltrated the state to cause widespread damage during the protests over the murder of George Floyd. During a press conference on Saturday, Governor Tim Walz, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter, and state Attorney General Keith Ellison alleged outside forces joined in on the protests to cause harm and incite violence.
It has been suggested that many of the more violent individuals are from out of state, while some may even be foreign actors. These people have allegedly infiltrated the state in an organized fashion, starting fires and looting. "We understand that the catalyst for this was Minnesotans," Walz said on Saturday. "I am not denying that." He went on to state that the identities of those arrested will be released, allowing authorities and media to trace who they are.
"20 Percent is what we think are Minnesotans, and about 80 percent are outside," he added. "Our heart and our solidarity are with folks who understand what happened Monday night to George Floyd ... But these folks are not them." Authorities have already monitored the online activity of some arrestees, although it's unclear how many of these people are connected to insidious hate groups.
"Every single person we arrested last night, I'm told, was from out of state," revealed St. Paul mayor Carter on Saturday, although he indicated that this was only in St. Paul and not Minneapolis. "What we are seeing right now, is a group of people who are not from here." He added that these individuals are "taking advantage" of the situation. Carter went on to explain that some white nationalist groups have posted messages on social media to encourage such behavior, hoping to use the very real anger over Floyd's murder as a "cover."
Minnesota public safety commissioner John Harrington backed up these claims and said that the process to determine where these people came from has begun. "Who are they associated with? What platforms are they advocating for?" Harrington said. "Is this organized crime? ... We are in the process right now of building that information network."
These allegations from Minnesota officials come just as the state began mobilizing the National Guard to control the protests. "The situation in Minneapolis is no longer in any way about the murder of George Floyd," Walz said. "It is about attacking civil society, instilling fear and disrupting our great cities."