Gov. Tim Walz requested aid from the federal government on Thursday to help rebuild and repair structures in Minneapolis and St. Paul that were damaged in unrest that followed George Floyd’s killing.
The request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) asks President Donald Trump to declare a “major disaster” for the state of Minnesota. Federal funds would be used to reimburse local governments as they remove debris and begin repairs.
Days of unrest followed Floyd’s May 25 killing in Minneapolis police custody, with more than 1,500 buildings damaged by fires, looting and vandalism.
The Walz administration said a preliminary damage assessment found more than $15 million of eligible damages directly related to fires, but the total cost of the damage was more than $500 million.
“The social and economic impacts of this incident will be felt for years if not decades,” Walz wrote in a letter to FEMA.
That makes it the second most destructive incident of civil unrest in the nation, according to Walz, following the 1992 riots in Los Angeles.
Post offices, pharmacies, grocery stores and many small businesses were among the casualties. Walz said state finances are already stretched thin responding to the coronavirus pandemic.