Greater Duluth Business Association Starts Petition to Keep George Floyd Trial out of Duluth

Ex Officers

(from left, Derek Chauvin, Tuo Thao, Thomas Lane, and J. Alexander Kueng)

DULUTH, Minn. – The Greater Duluth Business Association announced in a press release Friday that they have started an online petition in an effort to keep the George Floyd trial out of the St. Louis County region.

Last month all four defense teams filed motions to move the location of the trial stating that the jury pool in the Twin Cities area has been tainted due to ongoing media coverage.

Attorneys for the four former Minneapolis police officers say the trial should not be held in Hennepin County but rather in places such as Stearns, Crow Wing, or St. Louis counties.

The Greater Duluth Business Association press release reads in full:

Recently, Fox 9 News out of the Twin Cities, reported that all four defense teams have filed a motion to move the George Floyd trial out of Hennepin County due to jury concerns. The attorney for Thao has recommended the trial should be held in St. Louis County.  While the trial could financially recoup some lost income due to COVID-19 for the tourism industry with an influx of national media, it also brings the possibility of violent protests, as seen in Minneapolis this summer.

St. Louis County has two courthouses, one in Hibbing and one in Duluth.  Hibbing does not have the ability to easily accommodate the needs of, what we assume would be, 100s of national media personnel and potentially 1,000s of spectators, supporters, and protestors attending this trial. This would make Duluth the only logical location for the trial if held in St. Louis County, but the city would be greatly pressed to accommodate the number of people attending what could easily be a lengthy trial.

The Greater Duluth Business Association has created this petition to give the citizens of St. Louis County a voice on this critical decision, out of concern for the safety of our citizens, property owners and business community.

“We have all seen the devastation of the riots in the Twin Cities this summer with more than 400 businesses damaged and rebuilding costs estimated at more than $500 million,” explained Greater Duluth Business Association Board Member, Beth Wentzlaff.  “There is a very real potential for the protests to turn into violence as they did in Minneapolis. Is this a risk our citizens are willing to take in our already financially challenged region?”

Other counties, like Clay County, have spoken out against the trial being moved to their community. The Greater Duluth Business Association feels business owners and citizens of Duluth should have the right to voice their opinion on this issue. The petition created by the Association is a plea to Mayor Emily Larson, Police Chief Mike Tusken, and the Duluth City Council to let George Floyd Trial Judge, Peter Cahill, know that having this trial in Duluth would put too much at risk.

The change.org petition can be found by clicking here.

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