Fifty-one people were arrested in connection to predominantly peaceful protests Wednesday night in response to former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin being released from prison earlier in the day.
Chauvin, who is charged with murder in connection to George Floyd's May 25 death, posted $1 million bond Wednesday. This prompted Gov. Tim Walz to activate the Minnesota National Guard and mobilized other law enforcement in anticipation of unrest and protests following the news.
"Out of an abundance of caution for the safety of Minnesotans, we have asked the Minnesota National Guard to prepare to assist in keeping the peace," Walz said Wednesday, noting it follows a request from the City of Minneapolis.
The Minneapolis Police Department says 51 people were arrested – 49 on misdemeanors, one probable cause fourth-degree assault and one on a felony warrant.
It comes after police declared "unlawful assembly" as protesters gathered outside the 5th Police Precinct in south Minneapolis.
The MPD, as well as the Minnesota State Patrol and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, claims they responded to "disturbances and civil unrest."
Earlier in the evening, activists gathered for a vigil at 38th and Chicago at the George Floyd memorial. Following the vigil, protesters marched to downtown Minneapolis and returned to the memorial. Protesters voiced frustration that Chauvin had been offered bail in the first place, arguing that many in the system aren't afforded the same opportunity.
According to social media posts, people gathered for a vigil at 38th and Chicago, the site where Floyd was killed, and then marched to downtown Minneapolis, before returning to the area, which has been dubbed George Floyd Square.
The Star Tribune says about 300 people were marching peacefully.
Later in the night, a group of people who had split from the earlier march gathered outside of the MPD's Fifth Precinct on Nicollet Avenue, where many of the arrests for unlawful assembly took place, the Star Tribune said.
According to FOX 9, officers were staged at the nearby Kmart parking lot before they moved in on the crowd at around 10:30 p.m. Officers gave orders to disperse and said they'd arrest anyone who stayed.
Left-wing media outlet Unicorn Riot said two lawyers with the National Lawyers Guild were among those arrested as protesters were handcuffed for unlawful assembly.
Chauvin is charged with one count each of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. In an unrelated case, he and his estranged wife are charged with tax evasion, accused of lying about their income.
In June, Chauvin's bail was set at $1.25 million with no conditions or $1 million with conditions. Court documents show Chauvin posted a non-cash bond of $1 million that's guaranteed by New Jersey-based Allegheny Casualty, and he was released from custody at 11:22 a.m.
He is one of four officers charged in connection to Floyd's death. The others – J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao – are each charged with aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter. They're all out of custody and have been for weeks – Lane was the first to post bail in June, followed by Kueng and then Thao paid his bail and was released in July.
Note: Some of the details provided in this story are based on the police's latest version of events, and may be subject to change.