ST. PAUL — Gov. Tim Walz on Monday, Aug. 3, announced that he had again requested federal disaster aid to help rebuild Minneapolis following extensive arson fires and looting there following the killing of George Floyd.
In a letter Friday, Walz asked that the federal Small Business Administration declare a disaster for Hennepin County that would free up low-interest loans for business owners affected by the damage. The Federal Emergency Management Agency in July rejected a prior request for disaster assistance and Walz said he planned to appeal the decision.
“We need to work together to support Minnesotans who lost their homes and businesses to this destruction — that’s why we’ve asked our federal partners to step in,” Walz said in a news release. “We remain committed to working with the impacted communities to restore their vitality in the wake of this damage.”
The governor earlier this month wrote to the Trump administration noting that there were more than $15 million in damage and cleanup costs in Minneapolis and St. Paul that could qualify for federal reimbursement. More than 1,500 businesses were damaged or destroyed during the riots that lasted several days.
Initial estimates show the total damage could exceed $500 million, the second-highest reported damage resulting from civil unrest in the nation's history behind the 1992 Los Angeles riots.
On May 25, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes as Floyd and bystanders called out for him to stop. Floyd was taken to a hospital and died following the incident. A bystander captured the incident on video and the footage quickly went viral, spurring calls in Minnesota and across the country for reforms to police accountability laws.
After protests took place in the Twin Cities, arson fires, looting and other criminal activity followed, forcing local law enforcement to call in support from several branches of state law enforcement and launching the state's largest-ever deployment of National Guard members.
Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter in connection with Floyd's killing and three other officers present at the scene, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng, have been charged with aiding and abetting murder.