Gov. Jay Inslee ordered a statewide activation of the Washington National Guard tonight in response to the spread of destructive protests and looting in Washington state.
The activation will allow unarmed troops to be deployed in response to requests from local governments. The governor already authorized at least 600 troops earlier this weekend to help in Seattle and Bellevue.
The state received a request from Spokane County tonight for National Guard assistance after what was described as a rogue group began looting and damaging property in downtown Spokane. Earlier in the day, thousands of people protested peacefully.
Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty, commander of the Washington National Guard, will work with local law enforcement to determine details of deployments in response to requests by cities or counties.
“We must not let these illegal and dangerous actions detract from the anger so many feel at the deep injustice laid so ugly and bare by the death of George Floyd,” Inslee said. “But we also will not turn away from our responsibility to protect the residents of our state.”
The governor ordered the Guard's activation in a letter to Daugherty and follows several days of demonstrations organized to protest the killing of Floyd in Minnesota last week.
Read the letter here.