St. Paul, MN – The federal government said it will not be picking up the tab for the damage wrought during riots in Minnesota after 46-year-old George Floyd died in the custody of the Minneapolis police.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz asked President Donald Trump on July 2 to declare his state a “major disaster” after violent protesters looted and burned huge areas in multiple cities, KSTP reported.
Walz wrote in his request for assistance that initial preliminary damage estimates directly related to the fires totaled about $15 million.
The governor asked President Trump to “declare a major disaster for the State of Minnesota because of extensive fire damage to public infrastructure caused by civil unrest,” according to the Southwest Minneapolis Patch.
The request for federal aid said that 1,500 businesses in Minneapolis and St. Paul had suffered looting, fires, and vandalism totaling more than $500 million, KSTP reported.
But the federal government declined the governor’s request and responded that “the impact to public infrastructure is within the capabilities of the local and state governments to recover from,” the Southwest Minneapolis Patch reported.
Walz’s spokesman Teddy Tschann confirmed to KSTP that the governor’s request for support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had been turned down by the Trump administration.
Tschann said Walz was “disappointed,” according to the Southwest Minneapolis Patch.
“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,” the governor’s spokesman said.
Riots began in Minneapolis after Floyd died while he was being arrested on May 25 and then spread to the Twin Cities and surrounding communities, and eventually across the nation.
After the first few nights, during which Minneapolis police were forced to retreat from the 3rd Police Precinct station and rioters burned it down, the governor called out the Minnesota National Guard to help police in the Twin Cities and surrounding communities as violent protesters rioted, looted, and burned both public and private businesses.
The fire at the MPD’s 3rd Precinct was only at one corner 5 minutes ago. It’s now spread across the entire building. With no firefighters on scene… that building will likely be destroyed tonight. pic.twitter.com/t6p3Yv1KYV
— Seth Kaplan (@Seth_Kaplan) May 29, 2020
We have activated more than 500 soldiers to St. Paul, Minneapolis and surrounding communities. Our mission is to protect life, preserve property and the right to peacefully demonstrate. A key objective is to ensure fire departments are able to respond to calls.
— MN National Guard (@MNNationalGuard) May 29, 2020
#LIVE: Minneapolis Responds To Police Murder of George Floyd https://t.co/jFhWCOtuLJ
— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) May 29, 2020
Even after the guardsmen arrived, rioters looted and burned a U.S. Post Office in Minneapolis.
Footage from the post office located at 31st St. and 1st Ave. appeared to show it was looted before the fire started.
Federal Crime: Minneapolis rioters set fire to post office. Govenor Walz & Boy-Mayor Frey have NO control. 🔥🔥Minneapolis is burning. 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/YNA1LQ4kgA
— FreedomSeeker (@Freedom32914939) May 30, 2020
There was no sign of the fire department, although police officers and the Minnesota National Guard were seen holding rioters back in some areas.
The pentagon had put military police on alert to go to Minneapolis to help with the rioting amid the increasing civil unrest, according to the Associated Press.