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Walz authorizes National Guard ahead of MPD officer trials

Gov. Walz says the National Guard can provide safety assistance to the Twin Cities during the trials of the former officers charged in the death of George Floyd.

ST PAUL, Minn. — On Friday afternoon, Governor Walz announced in a press release that he has authorized the Minnesota National Guard to provide "public safety assistance" in Minneapolis and St. Paul during the trials of the four former Minneapolis police officers charged in George Floyd's death.

“There are some public safety events for which you cannot plan, and there are some for which you can," he said in the release. "The upcoming trials of the former officers involved in the death of George Floyd have raised the potential of civil unrest in Minneapolis, Saint Paul, and nearby communities. At the request of the City of Minneapolis and the City of Saint Paul, I have authorized the Minnesota National Guard to assist local law enforcement agencies during the upcoming trials.”

The trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis Police Officer who is charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd's death, will begin on March 8. 

The trial of Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng, who are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter, is set to begin on Aug. 23.

Walz added that members of the National Guard will be "visible and available as needed as public interest increases surrounding the trials."

He previously activated the National Guard during the unrest following George Floyd's death, as well as after Chauvin was released on bond

Earlier this week, he also called on the State Legislature to pass his State Aid for Emergencies (SAFE) Account budget proposal to help pay for potential increased law enforcement costs starting this spring. 

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