Minneapolis and other US cities prepare for possible protests after a jury pronounces a verdict on police officer Derek Chauvin, charged with the murder of George Floyd, an unarmed black man.
Floyd’s death last May in the city of Minnesota sparked protests against racial justice in the United States that sometimes turn violent. In some cases the riots were violently put down by the police.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz declared a preventive state of emergency in Minneapolis on Monday when the jury began deliberating over Chauvin’s fate. A judgment could come as early as Tuesday.
“We cannot allow civil unrest to turn into chaos. We have to protect lives and property, “Walz said at a press conference, adding that” systemic changes “are necessary to protect black Americans in the future.
Minneapolis and state officials have tightened security and girded the courthouse tower with barbed wire and armed National Guard soldiers.
Night protests broke out in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, a few miles from the courtroom, over the police shooting of a 20-year-old black man, Daunte Wright, after a routine traffic obstruction on April 11th. Officer Kimberly Potter surrendered her badge Tuesday and was charged with manslaughter.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration is privately considering how to deal with the impending verdict, including whether or not President Joe Biden should address the nation in his wake, according to the Associated Press.
At the same time, the Justice Department has already sent specially trained community facilitators to Minnesota, an anonymous official told the news agency.
Big cities raise security
The preparations weren’t reserved for Minnesota.
In Washington, DC, the National Guard said it was mobilizing about 250 people to assist police with road closures in the city prior to the verdict.
In New York City, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea told local media last week that his department, which critics said had cracked down on protests last spring, is preparing for the chauvinist ruling and is “doing a lot of work” with local people Leaders. Clergy and community organizations.
“We just ask anyone who comes out to express their concern about this process. Do it peacefully, without damage to property, and we will do it together,” Shea said.
In Chicago, the third largest US city, the police department announced it had deployed additional resources across the city, including downtown, and canceled days off for police officers in multiple units and teams.
With a verdict expected in the Derek Chauvin process, I put @IL_Natl_Guard on standby at the request of @chicagosmayor. It is important that those who wish to peacefully protest against systemic racism and injustice in our communities continue to be able to do so. https://t.co/gb9BOCTZXK
– Governor JB Pritzker (@GovPritzker), April 19, 2021
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker said he was activating 125 state National Guard employees as of Tuesday to assist the city’s police force.
Chicago corporations have boarded up windows in anticipation of possible riots, especially after a graphic video with a body camera was released last week of a Chicago police officer fatally shooting a 13-year-old black boy. There was widespread looting in Chicago after Floyd’s death last May.
“It is important that those who wish to peacefully protest against the systemic racism and injustice that hold back too many of our communities continue to be able to do so,” Pritzker said in a statement. “Members of the Guard and Illinois State Police will support the City of Chicago’s efforts to protect the rights of peaceful protesters and protect our families.”
In Oakland, California, another site of summer protests and some instances of vandalism, workers placed plywood barriers along a downtown building on Monday afternoon. A barricade had also been placed on the edge of the Oakland Police Station.
In Florida, Republican Governor Rick DeSantis signed an anti-riot law on Monday providing stricter penalties for people who engage in violent protests and citing his anticipation of the possible consequences of the chauvinist ruling.
The law increases penalties for crimes committed during a riot or violent protest, and allows authorities to detain protesters until they first appear in court. It also establishes new offenses for organizing a violent protest.
“In Florida we stand up for the rule of law and public safety without apology,” he said in a statement.