Minnesota House rejects security fund for officers’ trials

February 19, 2021 GMT

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota House rejected a bill to create a fund to bolster security during the upcoming murder trial of a former Minneapolis officer charged with killing George Floyd.

The measure failed Thursday on a 71-63 vote in the Democratic-controlled House.

Democratic Gov. Tim Walz proposed creating the $35 million fund to reimburse any community that requests mutual aid from other law enforcement agencies. That would include, the trial of Derek Chauvin, which is expected to draw worldwide attention when it begins March 8, and the trial in August of three other ex-officers.

Local, state and federal authorities have been preparing for demonstrations and possible unrest for months. They fear a repeat of violence that erupted after Floyd’s death on May 25, as protests began in Minneapolis and spread worldwide, leading to a national reckoning over race.

Floyd, a Black man in handcuffs, died after Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for several minutes even after Floyd said he couldn’t breathe.

Walz authorized the Minnesota National Guard this month to deploy in preparation for Chauvin’s trial. But the Guard is not considered a law enforcement agency and must partner with police.

The Republican-controlled Senate passed a bill that would take state aid from Minneapolis if the city doesn’t reimburse other departments. Walz opposes that approach.