US Defence Secretary Mark Esper has said he does not support deploying the army to end protests over the death of George Floyd and racial injustice.
It comes two days after President Donald Trump threatened to use the military to quell the demonstrations.
“I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act,” Esper said, speaking at the Pentagon.
“The option to use active duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort, and only in the most urgent and dire of situations. We are not in one of those situations now,” he said.
He went on to call the killing of George Floyd “a horrible crime”.
“The officers on the scene that day should be held accountable for his murder. It is a tragedy that we have seen repeat itself too many times,” Esper said.