Firefighters battle flames at a business along University Avenue in St. Paul as riot officers police the street on May 28. Protests over the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died in police custody, had broken out in Minneapolis and St. Paul for a third straight night.
More than 1,500 buildings suffered damage in the unrest after George Floyd's death.
By Ryan Faircloth Star Tribune
The federal government has denied Gov. Tim Walz’s request for aid to help rebuild and repair Twin Cities structures that were damaged in the unrest following George Floyd’s death.
Walz asked President Donald Trump to declare a “major disaster” for the state of Minnesota in his request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on July 2. More than 1,500 buildings were damaged by fires, looting and vandalism in the days of unrest that followed Floyd’s May 25 death in Minneapolis police custody, racking up more than $500 million in damages, according to Walz.
The governor’s spokesman, Teddy Tschann, confirmed late Friday that the request for federal aid was denied.
“The Governor is disappointed that the federal government declined his request for financial support,” Tschann said in a statement. “As we navigate one of the most difficult periods in our state’s history, we look for support from our federal government to help us through.”
Many small businesses and grocery stores, pharmacies and post offices were damaged during the unrest. In his letter to FEMA, Walz said what happened in the Twin Cities after Floyd’s death was the second most destructive incident of civil unrest in U.S. history, after the 1992 riots in Los Angeles.
The Walz administration conducted a preliminary damage assessment that found nearly $16 million of eligible damages related to fires. The federal funds would have been used to reimburse local governments for repairs and debris removal.
Republican Minnesota U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer on Thursday sent a letter to Trump in response to Walz’s aid request, asking for a “thorough and concurrent review” of the state’s response to the unrest so that “every governor, mayor and local official can learn from our experiences” and prevent such a situation from happening again.
“If the federal government is expected to assist in the clean-up of these unfortunate weeks, it has an obligation to every American — prior to the release of funding — to fully understand the events which allowed for this level of destruction to occur and ensure it never happens again,” Emmer wrote.