Gov. Tim Walz issued an order Friday authorizing the National Guard to respond in the event that high-profile court trials in Minneapolis spark civil unrest. Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, charged in the death of George Floyd, is scheduled to go on trial on March 8.
The governor's order states that the mayors of Minneapolis and St. Paul have requested state help as the trials of Chauvin and three other former officers charged in Floyd’s death, Thomas Lane, J Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao, approach, the Associated Press and MPR report.
“We submitted a request for support from the Minnesota National Guard last year,” says Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey,” and have been participating in regular planning meetings with law enforcement agencies to help ensure strong and persistent lines of communication are open with all relevant partners.”
“There are some public safety events for which you cannot plan, and there are some for which you can,” Walz said in a statement. “The upcoming trials of the former officers involved in the death of George Floyd have raised the potential of civil unrest in Minneapolis, St. Paul and nearby communities.”
Operation Safety Net is what the governor's plan is being called. Walz wants lawmakers to set aside $35 million set aside in a new public safety fund, a portion to be used to reimburse local police and fire agencies who offer personnel, MPR reports.
Republicans in the state legislature pushed back last week, calling the proposal a bailout for poor budget decisions and anti-police sentiment among Minneapolis leaders. They want Minneapolis to foot the bill.