The city of Minneapolis is spending roughly $645,000 on fences and barriers to protect city buildings and police precincts from potential vandalism and destruction during the upcoming Derek Chauvin trial, WCCO reported Thursday.
Nearly $515,000 will go toward barriers built around all five of the Minneapolis Police Department’s precincts, while $65,000 will go toward fencing outside City Hall. The remaining $65,000 will be used for perimeter fencing outside the Public Service Building, city spokesman Casper Hill said, according to WCCO. The Hennepin County Government Center was fortified with a barrier that includes razor wire.
Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, was charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter after kneeling on George Floyd’s neck until he died. Violence erupted in Minneapolis days following Floyd’s death, resulting in damage to more than 200 buildings. The city’s 3rd police precinct was also set on fire, leading to arson charges. (RELATED: ‘Do Not Result To Looting Or Violence’: George Floyd’s Uncle Asks For Peace Ahead Of Derek Chauvin Trial)
Hill said the city hopes funding from a $35 million security fund proposal called the “SAFE Account” will cover the costs, according to WCCO. The proposal, introduced by Democratic Gov. Tim Walz, would provide public safety cost-share assistance to local governments during extraordinary public safety events but was rejected by the Minnesota House of Representatives in February.
“We are not going to bail out Minneapolis City Council after they have made cuts to the public safety budget,” Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said after the proposal was announced, according to KSTP.
Walz also signed an executive order in February to activate the state’s National Guard ahead of the trial. The executive order would also extend into August, when the three other police officers facing charges in Floyd’s death will stand trial.
In December, the Minneapolis City Council voted to cut $7.7 million from the police department’s budget for 2021 and allocated the money to community violence prevention and mental health response programs. Months prior, a group of Minneapolis residents sued the city council and Mayor Jacob Frey for failing to manage the city’s police force amid a surge in violent crime.
Reports of carjackings increased by over 500%, murders increased by over 50%, and over 500 people had been shot in Minneapolis in 2020, the Daily Caller News Foundation reported.