Gov. Tim Walz has requested federal financial assistance to help the Twin Cities recover from more than $500 million worth of damage caused by rioting.
In a press release, Walz’s office said nearly 1,500 Twin Cities businesses were vandalized, burned, or looted during the late May riots, with current estimates of the damage exceeding $500 million.
Walz asked President Donald Trump on Thursday to “declare a major disaster for the State of Minnesota because of extensive fire damage to public infrastructure caused by civil unrest.” Assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) would reimburse local governments for debris removal, emergency protective measures, and damage to public buildings, Walz’s office said.
“We’re asking our federal partners to step up and help our communities recover,” Walz said. “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. Together, we will rebuild.”
He said the riots marked the first full mobilization of the Minnesota National Guard since World War II, noting that more than 10,000 public safety officials were called to the scene.
“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.”
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05) said last month that she intends to introduce a bill to create an “Emergency Relief Fund” specifically for “communities trying to rebuild after social and civil rights crises.” Omar, who represents the Minneapolis area in Congress, said the fund would allow cities and businesses harmed by civil unrest to apply for federal grants.
A local non-profit called Lake Street Council has now raised more than $7.5 million to support rebuilding efforts in Minneapolis.
At least 10 Minnesotans are facing various criminal charges in connection to the riots, including a St. Paul man who was charged with attempted murder for allegedly shooting at police officers during the unrest.
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