By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Four weeks from Monday, one of the most anticipated trials in the nation will begin right here in the Twin Cities.

Amidst escalating concerns about preparedness and potential violence during the trial of Derek Chauvin, a state committee Monday heard impassioned pleas on who should pay for security.

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Republicans argue as Minneapolis continues to try recreate its police department, taxpayers outside the city will end up footing the bill.

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Those in the riot-torn areas say they continue to pay the price for damage they didn’t do.

The red hot scenes of last summer are frozen now, damage still everywhere and the threat with the trial of Chauvin that more unrest could happen soon.

“I am really getting tired of listening to people demonize Minneapolis and demonize communities of color,” Rep. Hodan Hassan said.

As the House Way and Means Committee debated the governor’s proposed $35 million SAFE fund that would reimburse cities for mutual aide, Hassan says the people who live in the streets that burned last summer are victims.

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“Real fear is when white supremacists from other states and greater Minnesota and suburban communities come to our community and burn our businesses to the ground. That’s what real fear is,” she said.

But Republicans put the blame on the Minneapolis City Council.

“The purposeful decision by the Minneapolis City Council to not fund the police appropriately is going to shift the bill to the outstate so that all taxpayers are paying for the policing in Minneapolis,” Rep. Jim Nash, a Republican from Waconia, said.

And while the chair delayed a committee vote because of a possible compromise there are no signs, at least publicly, of any agreement.

In question is not only the $35 million dollars in the governor’s proposed SAFE act for mutual aide for future unrest, but a $300 million DFL-proposed Promise Act to help the areas recover from existing damage and rebuild.

The urgency could not be greater. The governor has already taken the unprecedented step of activating the National Guard four weeks ahead of the March 8 trial of Chauvin that will take place at the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis.

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The governor had asked the Legislature to come to an agreement on his $35 million SAFE bill by Monday. That obviously hasn’t happened. The proposal still has to pass several legislative committees before it can get a vote in the Legislature.

Esme Murphy