Minnesota National Guard says unrest response cost nearly $13 million

The Minnesota National Guard says it cost nearly $13 million to respond to the unrest in Minneapolis and St. Paul over the past two weeks.

Gov. Tim Walz fully activated the Guard for the first time since World War II as rioters burned buildings and looting stores for four nights in late May. The unrest started after the May 25 death of George Floyd. A now-fired Minneapolis police officer held Floyd to the ground by pushing his knee into Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes.

Among the Guard's costs, according to a memo from Adjutant General Jon Jensen, were:

$9.5 million for payroll
$2.1 million for meals and per diem
$1 million for vehicles and fuel
$100,000 for lodging
$100,000 for commodities

Minnesota law requires the state to automatically approve the expenses, budget commissioner Myron Frans said in a letter to the House and Senate budget committee chairs.

The state expects to get reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, Frans said.

Derek Chauvin, the former officer who held Floyd to the ground, has been charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Three other now-fired officers have been charged with aiding and abetting murder.

The killing has sparked massive protests in Minnesota and around the country, including calls for police accountability legislation in a Minnesota legislative special session set to start Friday.

In the same memo, Jensen also detailed nearly $1.2 million in expenses for the National Guard's response to the coronavirus. Guardsmen conducted testing at long-term care facilities and for the general public and delivered supplies around the state.