Gov. Ron DeSantis and Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Giménez say they did not request help from a Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) riot-control team, which arrived in Miami Monday in response to protests.
The BOP riot teams are typically tasked with handling prison riots. Earlier this week, Attorney General Bill Barr announced he was authorizing teams to be sent to Washington, D.C. and Miami to help control the ongoing protests.
State and local officials say the federal government sent those forces to the region unprompted, according to the Miami Herald.
“The Governor’s office has not requested any federal troop assistance and the mayors of Miami-Dade and city of Miami have indicated the same,” said Helen Aguirre Ferré, a DeSantis spokesperson.
“I was unaware they were here,” Giménez added. “They don’t need to be here.”
Over the weekend, a select group of rioters began causing chaos during previously peaceful protests against the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Saturday night, those rioters began setting fires and breaking glass storefronts in Miami. Some individuals threw projectiles at police.
Officers eventually responded by deploying tear gas and rubber bullets.
The South Florida protests did approach a federal detention center in Miami. According to the Miami Herald, a BOP spokesperson confirmed Barr was behind the decision to send those forces to South Florida, though the AG and Justice Department declined to comment.
Federal Marshal Gadyaces Serralta said the BOP forces were sent to keep an eye on that detention center.
By Sunday, Miami-Dade County had instituted a curfew. The curfew remained in effect as of Wednesday night and is expected to continue, though officials have pushed the start of the curfew back to midnight.
Gov. Ron DeSantis also activated the National Guard in response to the turmoil.
President Donald Trump has advocated for increasing the police and military response against nationwide protests, which have at times turned violent.
Earlier this week, the President had forces physically clear out peaceful protesters ahead of a planned photo op by the President at a nearby church, which had been set on fire.
The President has also floated activating the Insurrection Act, which would permit Trump to deploy the military to American cities without prior permission from state or local governments.
Those BOP forces, however, do not qualify as military personnel.