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1,000 Law Enforcement Members On Minneapolis Streets After Downtown Riot

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- There was a strong show of force in Minneapolis Thursday night, 24 hours after rioting and looting erupted on the streets.

It all started Wednesday evening after rumors spread that police were involved in the death of a Black man, who was suspected of murder. Police released surveillance video that showed he died by suicide on Nicollet Mall.

A comprehensive plan, including 1,000 members of law enforcement from around the Twin Cities and state, was put in place to prevent more lawlessness.

Minneapolis police say more than 30 people have been arrested since curfew began at 8 p.m., all for curfew violations. One illegal gun also taken off the street.

READ MORE: Looting Along Nicollet Mall Leaves Downtown Minneapolis Shattered; Curfew Expands To St. Paul For Thursday Night

A well-known group of community members known as MAD DADS of Minneapolis had a strong presence alongside law enforcement Thursday night. Members helped people onto buses to get them home so they would not be arrested. Member Coy Lehn says they were trying to be the middle man between community members and law enforcement to help de-escalate.

State troopers told WCCO they were being lenient on arrests, asking for people's IDs first, and then checking to see if they're on their way home before any arrest attempt. WCCO watched troopers let several people go to bus stops or walk to parking garages to get to their cars. This kept the night relatively peaceful, and tensions between law enforcement and citizens low.

Wednesday's unrest led to dozens of arrests. Some people were cited and released, while others were booked into jail for rioting, burglary and theft. A small group waited outside the Hennepin County Jail to provide support for those arrested.

"People got caught out here. People got arrested for the wrong reasons. We don't trust the reasons why they got arrested. Everyone deserves adequate representation," Bonnie Frieden said.

Police Chief Medaria Arradondo condemned the actions of those from Minneapolis, St. Paul and around the Twin Cities.

"These individuals were not peacefully protesting. They were looting, they were creating vandalism they were burglarizing, trying to set buildings ablaze," Arradondo said.

READ MORE: List Of Businesses Damaged Or Looted In Minneapolis Overnight

And he said it will not be tolerated. WCCO was told a plan was put in place that combined high visibility, presence and prevention.

National Guard In Downtown Minneapolis
(credit: CBS)

The Minnesota National Guard is part of that. They had been stationed along Nicollet Mall since Thursday morning. Hundreds joined them before the 8 p.m. curfew.

Minneapolis Police Cmdr. Scott Gerlicher says the robust plan was to prevent rioting and to restore peace.

"There's certain individuals out there that really don't care, that just want to go out and do property damage, steal things, loot and it doesn't matter what we do or what we say. So our goal tonight is to try to prevent that from happening," Gerlicher said.

READ MORE: 'It's Just Not Worth It Anymore': For Some Minneapolis Businesses, Wednesday's Riots Were The Last Straw

He was in charge of special operations and is one of the people who were in a room full of command staff Thursday night, monitoring what was unfolding and moving resources where needed.

"This is vicious, despicable behavior out there and we've got to do whatever we can to stop that type of destructive behavior," Gerlicher said.

Police say it seemed there was no real coordination by rioters Wednesday night, and more roving groups looking for targets. Police hoped the heavy presence would stop a second night of rioting.

"We're prepared to have these resources in place as long as we need to ensure safety in the city, as long as that might take," Gerlicher said.

READ MORE: Family-Owned Lotus Restaurant Among Minneapolis Businesses Looted In Wednesday Night Riots

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