Following an FBI memo warning of threats to all 50 state capitols, Gov. Tim Walz has deployed the Minnesota National Guard and security forces ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
Walz activated the National Guard on Wednesday to assist state and local law enforcement in public safety efforts in St. Paul over the coming days.
“We will always support Minnesotans’ First Amendment rights to peacefully protest, but anyone involved in violent, illegal activity will be held accountable,” Governor Walz said. “We are tracking reports and monitoring the situation closely to enhance our response and change tactics as needed.”
The Minnesota National Guard will work in coordination with other state resources, including the Minnesota State Patrol and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officers, as well as local law enforcement.
In addition to the fence around the Minnesota Capitol that has been in place since last summer, the State Patrol has increased its presence to respond to various threats and prevent unlawful entry into the building and has continued to enhance readiness through training, equipment, and personnel.
Although speakers at the “Storm the Capitol” rally at the Minnesota State Capitol warned of an incoming “civil war” and “casualties in Washington,” the gathering did not become violent like the deadly Trump-inspired insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
In the wake of last week’s fatal events in Washington D.C., Walz, a former high school history teacher, has been visiting historic sites in Minnesota to reflect and call on civility, peace, and the restoration of democracy. He is encouraging Minnesotans to consider the greater context that led to this dark moment in history.
On Tuesday, almost a week after the attack on the U.S. Capitol, FBI Assistant Director Steven D’Antuono, along with acting U.S. Attorney of the District of Columbia Michael Sherwin, provided an update on the Pro-Trump insurrection last Wednesday.
D’Antuono outlined a sprawling investigation with more than 170 people identified so far. Sherwin vowed to leave “no stone unturned” to find members of the MAGA mob who engaged in criminal conduct at the U.S. Capitol. He made note of a specialized task force that will handle sedition charges that can result in up to 20 years in prison.
Stating that he wanted to clear up “misconceptions” about some of the perceived light charges issued thus far, Sherwin explained how FBI agents sometimes rely on lesser charges to make arrests quickly. But “this is only the beginning,” he said, promising more severe felony charges.
As more footage from within the Capitol continues to be released, the gravity of what occurred is becoming more clear. Horrific scenes of severely outnumbered Capitol police being stomped, dragged, hit with poles, and in some cases, the American flag, have stunned and appalled many across the country.
Sherwin promised that in the coming days, even more footage would be released that would show all the “egregious acts of violence” that took place—scenes that will “shock” an already stunned and wounded nation.