A top Walz administration official, Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington, admits he misjudged how quickly violence escalated in the Twin Cities after George Floyd’s death — and Republican Senator David Osmek wants to know what’s being done to avoid a repeat. He asked Harrington at State Capitol hearings Thursday, “Explain to me what you’ve prepared for, knowing full well we still have a tinderbox, that all it needs is a match.” Harrington responded his department is much more attuned to protest organizers and their history of civil unrest. “Now we’re having the conversation that says, well they’re not talking about going on the freeway, but the organizations that are doing this have had that history and we need to now be… planning about that,” he says.
Harrington says there must be better partnerships between agencies because law enforcement resources are limited. “The 800 cops that Minneapolis have, which is the biggest department in the state of Minnesota, was not going to be adequate to deal with 10-thousand protesters if they were actively rioting — so we have to be able to work together,” he says.