ST. PAUL, MINN. (WCCO) — Senate Republicans on Monday approved funds for security surrounding Derek Chauvin’s trial for George Floyd’s death, but the proposal would also delay implementation of new policing requirements, drawing the ire of Democrats.

The provision would delay limitations and training on use of force passed in the police accountability bill last year by six months until September, when the new rules were set to take effect March 1.

Republicans said the language is intended to give law enforcement more time for training on the new law, which says deadly force is only justified if protecting an officer from death or great bodily harm.

Democrats rebuked the bill, calling it an effort to demonize Minneapolis and undermine progress made last summer by the legislature in response to Floyd’s death.

“Even a delay is a delay of justice and opportunity,” said Sen. Bobby Joe Champion DFL-Minneapolis, urging his colleagues to vote against the bill.

 

Barriers set up outside the Hennepin County Government Center during Derek Chauvin’s trial (credit: CBS)

It’s part of the Senate GOP’s broader plan to earmark $20 million in one-time money for a special account to reimburse local governments that dispatch aid to any Minnesota city during an “extraordinary or unplanned event.” But the bill was crafted with Chauvin’s trial specifically in mind, as law enforcement from outside of Minneapolis assists with increased security.

Gov. Tim Walz initially pitched a $35 million “SAFE” account for these mutual aid costs, but it failed to gain traction in both the Senate and the DFL-controlled House, where it failed on the floor.  The Senate’s $20 million plan approved Monday is their latest counterproposal.

The bill would also retroactively prevent state disaster relief funds from being used to cover damage caused by civil unrest, effectively ordering Hennepin County to pay back to the state the $12.5 million Walz approved from the disaster account in wake of the riots.

Still, this proposal is not yet the final deal, as leadership in both chambers continues to sort out the details.

“There’s ongoing conversations about the best way to try and get something done,” said Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa. “This particular bill is not agreed upon.”

Jury selection for Chauvin’s begins Tuesday, after being delayed Monday. 

Caroline Cummings