National Guard officer tells protesters troops will 'stay back behind'

Moment sympathetic National Guard officer takes a knee and tells George Floyd protesters he and his troops will ‘stay back behind and invisible so you can’t see us’ after deploying from armored vehicles

  • Minnesota National Guard Lt. Col. Sam Andrews spoke to protesters in St. Paul 
  • Andrews sympathized with George Floyd, black man who died in police custody 
  • He promised protesters that National Guard troops would be kept back 
  • Andrews said he was asked by demonstrators to keep troops away from protest
  • After his speech, several protesters gave Andrews a hug 

An officer with the Minnesota National Guard told protesters angry over the police-involved killing of George Floyd that he would agree to their request to pull back the troops from the state capitol while they continued to assemble peacefully.

Lieutenant Colonel Sam Andrews emerged to address the protesters who had gathered on the steps of the state capitol in St. Paul on Monday afternoon.

Several National Guard armored personnel carriers were seen in front of the capitol building. 

Andrews knelt on the ground and gave a short speech expressing sympathy for Floyd while empathizing with the protesters. 

‘I’m sorry for your loss,’ he said. ‘As a citizen of Minnesota, I’m sorry for the loss of George Floyd.

Lt. Col. Sam Andrews of the Minnesota National Guard addressed protesters on the steps of the state capitol in St. Paul on Monday


Andrews knelt on the ground and gave a short speech expressing sympathy for George Floyd while empathizing with the protesters

Andrews told the assembled crowd that he had struck an agreement with protesters to have National Guard troops stay away from the demonstrators as long as they continued being peaceful

‘My heart hurts as a human being.’ 

Andrews told the protesters that National Guard soldiers would agree to remain out of sight while they demonstrated in the area.

‘Last night when I talked to the group out here, who peacefully assembled, they peacefully assembled to have their voice heard,’ he said.

‘And what we’re asking tonight is for the same thing.’

Andrews continued: ‘One of the things that the crowd asked for last night was to have the officers in the Army removed, so we’re off.

After Andrews pledged to keep his troops inside the capitol building, the demonstrators erupted in applause

Afterward, some of the demonstrators came up to Andrews and gave him a hug

Andrews is seen above hugging another demonstrator in St. Paul on Monday

‘So for the men and women and children that came out last night to have their voices heard, we heard it, and we’re gonna stay back behind invisible so that you can’t see us.’

He then asked: ‘Is that OK?’

The demonstrators applauded and cheered. After his remarks, several of the demonstrators were seen hugging Andrews.

Witnesses said that National Guard soldiers pulled back and stayed inside the capitol building.

The Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul were placed under a curfew beginning at 10pm local time and extending until 4am. 

At least 5,600 people have been arrested in cities around the country since demonstrations broke out protesting the death of Floyd, according to a tally compiled by AP journalists from police department press releases, police agency Twitter activity and media reports.

The protests began after the May 25 death of Floyd, a black man who died in Minneapolis after a white police officer who is now charged with murder, Derek Chauvin, pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for several minutes even after Floyd stopped moving and pleading for air.

The arrests come as protests in some cities become more violent and as police and governors are urged by President Donald Trump to take a stronger hand in quelling the demonstrations.

In Minneapolis, where Floyd died, some 155 arrests have taken place. 

Some of the biggest cities in the US have made a significant number of arrests, including nearly 800 in New York City and more than 900 in Los Angeles. 

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