Minneapolis is preparing for the worst as the jury meets to deliberate a verdict in former police officer Derek Chauvin’s murder trial. Some 3,000 National Guard troops are deployed across downtown and throughout Minnesota.
Two Guard members were slightly injured early Sunday when someone fired into their Humvee. Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey called for calm and said violence will not be tolerated.
The precautions are intended to head off the kind of riots that destroyed $350 million in property last summer when George Floyd was killed. Outside the courthouse are fences, plywood and a strong security presence.
Similar steps are underway across the country, including in Beverly Hills, which is stepping up patrols, and Philadelphia, where boards are covering windows. At least six states and Washington, D.C., have made requests for help from the National Guard.
But Minneapolis is the trial’s location and the likely epicenter for any protests. Local law enforcement says it’s ready.
“The number one focus for us is deescalation. We don’t want to use force if we don’t have to,” said Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo.
Thein nearby Brooklyn Center has added to an already tense environment. Activist Nekima Levy Armstrong has been at protests in both cities.
“Who are they protecting? They are certainly not protecting peaceful demonstrators” Armstrong said.