National Guard draws out of Minneapolis following Chauvin trial verdict

A Minnesota National Guard convoy leaves Minneapolis following the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial. (Minnesota National Guard)

For weeks the National Guard has been in Minneapolis, streets have been blocked off and stores have been boarded up. Now that the Derek Chauvin trial is over, Operation Safety Net is starting to pull back.

At a National Guard shop in Arden Hills are the stragglers of Operation Safety Net, the last Guard members to go home. They are among about 200 soldiers in total who remain in the Twin Cities for various duties. At Arden Hills, it’s fixing equipment and sorting out tools. However, it was very busy at the shop starting on Thursday.

"Basically our maintenance team still has to go through the vehicles here and there to make sure they’re equipped to move back to their home stations," said Staff Sgt. Bailey Lackie.

Friday morning, convoys of National Guard left the Twin Cities to return to various bases throughout the state - a clear sign of Operation Safety Net’s wind down, for now.

In downtown Minneapolis, crews tackled the boards at U.S. Bank plaza. The Downtown Council told FOX 9 some businesses began taking theirs down on Thursday. While you may still see plywood throughout the city, it’ll begin disappearing steadily as we head into next week.

As for the fences and barricades, they will stay for a while. All put up by contractors, they’ll be dismantled depending when those contractors can get to them. But the Guard members who manned them are all gone.

As for Staff Sgt. Lackie, who is a senior fueler in the 682nd Engineer Battalion, she spent her deployment at one of several fuel stations.

"We were averaging about 500 to 600 gallons pumped every day," said Lackie.

She was also deployed last spring for the unrest and wound up missing her own wedding set for June 6, returning home one day later.