By Tim Pearce
The Minneapolis mayor is asking for federal help cleaning up and rebuilding his city after rioters caused at least $55 million worth of damage through looting, burning, and defacing public and private property.
That cost estimate is likely to increase in the coming days as government officials continue to tally the damage done in the wake of George Floyd’s death, Mayor Jacob Frey said according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and the state’s congressional delegation are also pushing the Trump administration and Congress for funding.
On Tuesday, city officials released an initial estimate of $55 million in damage done to at least 220 buildings. The mayor said that the number was likely a lowball estimate and that the total cost of the riots across Minneapolis and the state capital of St. Paul is likely to be “tens, if not hundreds of millions” of dollars.
“We will do everything we can as we shift to recovery mode,” Frey said, according to the Star Tribune. “We’re recovering from crises sandwiched on top of each other, from COVID-19 to the police killing and then the looting which took place afterward.”
City and state officials are attempting to get financial support from Congress or through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Neither option looks promising, Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) said.
Floyd died while in Minneapolis police custody on May 25. Four officers have been fired, one of whom, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The other three have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter.
Video of Floyd’s arrest began circulating online days later showing Chauvin using his knee on Floyd’s neck to pin Floyd to the ground. The videos sparked mass protests in Minneapolis and allegations of police brutality and racism.
The protests devolved into riots and Minneapolis police were overwhelmed with widespread looting and burning. Frey also held the police back, one night ordering them to abandon the 3rd Police Precinct were Chauvin and the other former officers had been stationed.
Rioters quickly broke into the building and set fires inside that burned the building through as fire department officials were unable to get through the crowd to douse the building. Eventually, Walz activated the National Guard to move into the city to restore order.
Trump was critical of Frey’s performance during the riots and attacked the mayor over Twitter on May 29 after rioters razed the police headquarters.
“I can’t stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis. A total lack of leadership. Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right,” Trump said. “These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!”
Author: Tim Pearce