Seven Minnesota counties enter state of emergency ahead of Chauvin verdict

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Gino Spocchia
·2 min read
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<p>Minnesota governor Tim Walz announces state of emergency for seven counties </p> (FOX 9)

Minnesota governor Tim Walz announces state of emergency for seven counties

(FOX 9)

Seven counties surrounding the city of Minneapolis entered a state of emergency on Monday, as closing arguments came in the trial of Derek Chauvin.

Mr Chuavin is on trial for the killing of George Floyd in police custody on 25 May 2020, and the fate of the former officer – and of US policing – is currently being decided by a jury.

On Monday, Minnesota governor Tim Walz said the state of emergency followed “looting” and “damage” caused by demonstrators in both Minneapolis and the suburb of Brooklyn Center.

The Minneapolis suburb was the centre of recent unrest after the fatal police shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright on 11 April, and officials anticipate further demonstrations after the trial of Mr Chauvin formally ends.

In a statement, Mr Walz said the police chiefs of the twin cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul asked for out-of-state assistance with policing, called Operation Safety Net.

“Many Minnesotans have expressed their frustrations in a peaceful and constructive manner,” said Mr Walz, “[but] recent events in Brooklyn Center have exhausted Minnesota’s local and state resources and are likely to hamper our ability to provide public safety”.

More than 3,000 troops from the Minnesota National Guard are already on deployment in the city, with steel and concrete fencing surrounding the courtroom of Mr Chauvin’s trial.

Fox 9 reported that funding for troopers’ overtime pay is also being included in a bill in the Minnesota state legislator, at the request of Mr Walz.

The Minnesota governor went on to say at a news conference on Monday that “We can’t live like this. We simply can’t. But we can’t have thousands of businesses burned and people put at risk”.

City officials believe damage from the demonstrations against Mr Floyd’s killing in May 2020 were in the region of $350 million (£250 million), the Associated Press reported.

The ongoing state of emergency is for the counties of Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, and Washington, with curfews to be announced on a day-by-day basis – if necessary.

Campaigners and critics of Mr Walz meanwhile argue that Operation Safety Net risks ‘overmilitarising’ the response to any demonstrations.

It is not clear when a verdict in the trial of Mr Chauvin will come. A jury is deliberating.

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