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Minneapolis, Hennepin County spending $1M on barricades, fencing for Chauvin trial

Minneapolis hopes to be reimbursed for fortification costs by the state if it passes the proposed SAFE Account.

The City of Minneapolis is spending $645,000 on perimeter fencing for the trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, who is charged with killing George Floyd on May 25, 2020, while Hennepin County is expecting to spend more than $400,000. 

City spokesperson Casper Hill told Bring Me The News the estimated cost includes $515,000 to put up fencing around each of the five police precincts. The rest of the money will go toward putting fencing around the city's share of City Hall ($65,000) and the new Public Service Building ($65,000), which both face the Hennepin County Government Center, where Chauvin's trial will be held.

Meanwhile, Hennepin County is estimating it's spending a little more than $420,000 to lease and install barriers around the Government Center, but that figure could change, the Star Tribune says.

“Some in our communities may find some of the environmental structures that they see — barricades and barriers and fences — perhaps a little bit daunting,” Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said at a news conference Thursday. “But, as we saw the events of Jan. 6, that is that preventative tool that we have to consider and have to look at.”

Hennepin County plans to pay for the fortification efforts with its facility services budget, the Star Tribune says. While Minneapolis hopes it will get funding from the state to recoup the costs associated with these fortification efforts, Hill told BMTN.

The Minnesota Legislature has been debating a proposal to create a SAFE Account that would reimburse law enforcement agencies that provide mutual aid, including during the Chauvin trial. State, regional and local agencies have teamed up to create Operation Safety Net to keep people and property safe during the trial. 

And after a stalemate, it looks as if lawmakers are close to a deal on the trial security funding proposal. Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-East Gull Lake, said Thursday legislative leaders are "fairly close" on a deal, with a vote possible on Monday, the day jury selection is set to begin for Chauvin's trial, FOX 9 says.

Lawmakers haven't said much about what may be in the bill, but Gov. Tim Walz said, "If they get me something, I want to sign it."

Meanwhile, there is a possibility Chauvin's trial could be delayed in the wake of the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruling that Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill must reconsider a third-degree murder charge for Chauvin (read more about that here).

BMTN has asked the City of Minneapolis if a delay in the start of Chauvin's trial could impact the cost of the perimeter fencing. It's also unclear if these fortification efforts will remain up if the trial gets delayed. 

The trial of the other three officers charged in George Floyd's death are set to go to trial in August. 

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