Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has asked President Trump for a federal disaster declaration in his state due to “extensive fire damage” and other destruction in the unrest that followed George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody on Memorial Day.
“We need to come together to ensure Minnesotans who were victims of this destruction have access to critical infrastructure they need so they can go to the grocery store, pick up their medication, and live their lives,” Walz said in a statement Thursday. “Together, we will rebuild.”
He also appealed to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for financial assistance to help cover the cost of debris removal, emergency measures and damage to public buildings and equipment.
“We’re asking our federal partners to step up and help our communities recover,” he said.
Walz’s office estimates the cost of the damage to more than 1,500 businesses in Minneapolis and St. Paul at over $500 million.
Fires caused at least $15 million in damages to public infrastructure that Walz’s office said it could be eligible to receive reimbursement from the federal government.
“We are committed to helping our communities rebuild, but we can’t do this on our own,” said Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan. “While state, tribal, and local budgets are stretched thin by COVID-19, we need everyone to step up, including the federal government, to restore safety and critical infrastructure to our communities.”
The governor’s office said it has fully mobilized the Minnesota National Guard for the first time since World War II to restore order after protests over Floyd’s death devolved into chaos.
Looting and rioting at times left businesses and vehicles engulfed in flames and the police department’s Third Precinct building torched and abandoned.
The violence has subsided, but federal prosecutors have filed a slew of charges against arson suspects and continue to seek to identify more persons of interest.
Four officers were fired from the Minneapolis Police Department and criminally charged in connection with Floyd’s death.
Author: Michael Ruiz