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St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - Governor Tim Walz today signed an executive order activating the Minnesota National Guard to provide assistance in the event of civil unrest in response to the upcoming trial of one of the former Minneapolis police officers charged with the death of George Floyd.

Walz says the National Guard is already been directed to begin planning and preparing for possible activation. The executive order authorizes the Adjutant General to call up for active-duty "personnel, equipment, and facilities needed to coordinate and support public safety and security services in the Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul and communities across the State of Minnesota."

It also states the Department of Public Safety through its Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division will coordinate and assess the need for emergency assistance. Governor Walz, through the executive order, will cover the cost of the assistance through the state's general fund.

The governor has proposed creating a $35 million Safety Fund to cover the costs associated with maintaining public safety during and after the trials but has run into resistance from Republican leaders who see it as a possible "bailout" for the City of Minneapolis. They argue some of the communities that sent law officers to Minneapolis during last year's rioting are still waiting to be reimbursed.

The first trial stemming from the death of George Floyd is scheduled to begin in the Hennepin County Court on March 8th. Former officer Derek Chauvin is facing second-degree murder and manslaughter charges that allege he caused Floyd's death by pressing down on the man's neck with his knee an incident that sparked worldwide protests and violent and damaging riots in numerous cities, including Minneapolis and St. Paul last year.

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