President Trump Considers Using Military To Quell Violent Protests

Protest in Washington over the death of George Floyd

Protest in Washington over the death of George Floyd

President Donald Trump said that he will deploy the military to help cities deal with protests and riots stemming from the death of George Floyd, who was killed while in the custody of four now-former Minneapolis police officers.

Speaking in the Rose Garden on Monday (June 1), President Trump said he was "sending thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers, military personnel, and law enforcement officers to stop the rioting, looting, vandalism, assaults, and the wanton destruction of property."

Active-duty U.S. soldiers are banned from conducting police actions on U.S. soil but can be deployed under the Insurrection Act of 1807. Governors can ask the federal government to send soldiers to help quell civil unrest, but so far, no governor has made that request. President Trump can also invoke the Act without a request from the states.

The Insurrection Act was last used in 1992 by President George H.W. Bush. He invoked it at the request of California Governor Pete Wilson to help bring peace to the city following race riots after the Los Angeles Police officers who brutally assaulted Rodney King were not convicted.

Trump's threat to use the military to quell the violence did little to stop rioters from taking to the streets on Monday night. Protesters ignored the curfews enacted in cities across the country and took to the streets to demand justice. While most of the rallies started out peacefully, they turned violent as rioters began looting, destroying property, and fighting with police.

In St. Louis, four police officers were shot after they fired tear gas into the crowd. Two of the officers were shot in the leg, one was shot in the arm, and one was shot in the foot. They were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

A Las Vegas police officer is fighting for his life after he was shot in the head outside of the Circus Circus Hotel and Casino on the Strip. The officer was engaged with another suspect when the shooter walked up behind him and shot him in the back of the head. 

In Buffalo, New York, police officers had to run for cover as an SUV plowed through their line as they tried to get a crowd to disperse. Two officers suffered undisclosed injuries. The suspects fled the scene and police have not made any arrests.

In New York City, looters ransacked their way through midtown Manhattan, lighting fires and smashing windows. In the Bronx, an officer was struck by a vehicle while investigating break-ins, and another officer was attacked by a mob of people. Authorities said they made more than 200 arrests throughout the city.

Photo: Getty Images

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