The Potluck

Senate GOP advance measure to cut Minneapolis local aid to pay for law enforcement mutual aid during Chauvin trial

By: - February 10, 2021 12:12 pm

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo testifies on Wednesday during a Senate subcommittee hearing.

A Senate panel approved a politically charged GOP-led bill to cut local government aid to Minneapolis, diverting the funding to reimburse law enforcement agencies that assist Minneapolis police during large demonstrations or extraordinary events.

The measure passed the Senate subcommittee on property taxes Wednesday on a 3-2 party-line vote and heads to the full Senate Taxes Committee next. 

The plan is an alternative to DFL Gov. Tim Walz’s proposal to create a $35 million state fund to reimburse law enforcement agencies that assist Minneapolis police during the upcoming Derek Chauvin trial. Republicans criticized Minneapolis leadership, saying their efforts to defund the police last year make it unfair for the city to ask for assistance now.

State Sen. Bill Weber, R-Luverne, said his bill would encourage law enforcement departments to agree to provide mutual aid because the legislation would “guarantee” they would be compensated.

Walz has already activated the Minnesota National Guard to begin planning for the trial, seeking to prevent any violence or civil unrest. 

State Sen. Matt Klein, DFL-Mendota Heights, criticized the legislation, saying it was “offensive to punish” the city and garnish its tax base to pay for mutual aid support. 

Klein backed Walz’s proposal, saying “The best way to support law enforcement is to plan ahead.”

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo testified Wednesday that his depleted law enforcement department has struggled since the May 25 killing of George Floyd. 

“We’ve become a one-dimensional department,” he said, adding: “I have relied upon mutual aid for many different occurrences, many of those post-May 25.”

He said that until he has more funding and more officers, he would continue to rely on aid from other law enforcement departments.

On Tuesday, Minneapolis sent assistance to Buffalo, where a 67-year-old man shot several people, killing one, at an Allina Health clinic, underscoring the reciprocal relationship between police departments in the state.

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Ricardo Lopez
Ricardo Lopez

Ricardo Lopez was a senior political reporter for the Reformer. Ricardo is not new to Minnesota politics, previously reporting on the Dayton administration and statehouse for The Star Tribune from 2014 to 2017, and the Republican National Convention in 2016. Previously, he was a staff writer at The Los Angeles Times covering the California economy. He's a Las Vegas native who has adopted Minnesota as his home state. In his spare time, he likes to run, cook and volunteer with Save-a-Bull, a Minneapolis dog rescue group.