Minneapolis needs to be ready; Minnesota needs to help
Minneapolis is getting ready for what might transpire when the trial of Derek Chauvin starts in a couple of weeks. Chauvin is the former Minneapolis police officer charged in the death of George Floyd on May 25. Floyd died after Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for nearly 8 minutes while Floyd, a Black man, handcuffed and lying on the ground, protested he couldn’t breathe.
Minneapolis and St. Paul erupted in days and nights of rage and rioting, culminating in the looting and burning of businesses in both cities, and the torching of the Minneapolis Third Precinct police station, while city and state authorities, at first, decided to stay out of protestors’ way.
That will not happen this time. Minneapolis is already setting up a security perimeter around the Hennepin County Government Center and the Minneapolis City Hall. It is calling on 2,000 National Guard troops and 1,100 law enforcement officers from 12 agencies, according to the Associated Press.
This would be a good time for the Minnesota Legislature to come together on a plan to help finance this security setup. Gov. Tim Walz has proposed a $35 million fund to help pay for officers from other agencies who will be coming to Minneapolis. But the Republicans in the Senate are still pursuing the idea that Minneapolis has brought this on themselves by cutting police department funding and failing to hire more officers after a dramatic drop in numbers over the past year. It wants to take any claim other agencies have on Minneapolis out of the Minneapolis Local Government Aid, which funds other city services.
Punishing the Minneapolis City Council cutting its LGA is not going to make the city any safer when the Chauvin trial starts. The Senate should realize that preventing the kind of rioting that took place last May is a lot cheaper than the cost of cleaning up and rebuilding.