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Minnesota Gov. Walz asks that riot damage be declared federal disaster

Minnesota Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan and Gov. Tim Walz during budget negotiations in May 2019 in Minneapolis. (Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune/TNS)

Gov. Tim Walz is asking the riots after the death of George Floyd be declared a federal disaster, opening the way for funds to help rebuild.

As much as $500 million in damages was reported, most of that to privately-owned buildings set afire during the unrest. Nearly 1,500 businesses were damaged during the riots, which lasted several days and nights.

State officials say about $15 million of public infrastructure was also damaged.

The riots, which began May 27, required the first full mobilization of the Minnesota National Guard since World War II.

Since the unrest, 10 people have been federally charged for rioting or arson.

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Federal assistance would allow local governments to be reimbursed for debris removal, protective measures and the damages inflicted on the public buildings.

In his request, Walz said Minnesota faces a projected $2.4 billion revenue deficit, adding that the coronavirus pandemic has only aggravated the problem.

“Disaster assistance under the Stafford Act is clearly warranted,” Walz wrote in the request. “Without it, and given the already heavy burden of so many previous state and federal disasters and the COVID-19 response, Minnesotans will struggle to return to their communities to normalcy.”

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©2020 the Pioneer Press (St. Paul, Minn.)

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.