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Minneapolis hunkers down ahead of Derek Chauvin verdict

Louise Hall
·2-min read
<p>Police officers stand guard as demonstrators gather during a protest outside the Brooklyn Center police station on 16 April, 2021 in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota</p> (Getty Images)

Police officers stand guard as demonstrators gather during a protest outside the Brooklyn Center police station on 16 April, 2021 in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota

(Getty Images)

Businesses in Minneapolis have hunkered down ahead of the verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer on trial for the killing of George Floyd.

Owners of shops in the area have said they fear a repeat of historic violence seen in the aftermath of Mr Floyd’s death in May 2020.

Mr Chauvin 45, has been on trial for murder and manslaughter after pinning Mr Floyd to the pavement by his neck for almost nine minutes. The case will head to the jury on Monday after closing arguments.

The courthouse in which the anonymous jury will later deliver verdicts had already been fortified with concrete barriers and razor wire, ahead of the trial.

Samir Patel, an immigrant from India who says his dry-cleaning business suffered half a million dollars in damage amid the demonstrations last year told The New York Times he doesn’t “know what will happen” as the trial pans out.

“We can’t predict now,” Mr Patel, who said his losses last year during the unrest meant he had to postpone his retirement, said. “It’s beyond your imagination now.”

Photographs of the city have shown shops covered in plywood boards and metal defences as the community braces for a verdict in the trial.

Signs hang on a fence amid the remains of the Minneapolis 3rd Precinct police station that was burned down by protesters 23 March, 2021AP
Signs hang on a fence amid the remains of the Minneapolis 3rd Precinct police station that was burned down by protesters 23 March, 2021AP

The tense atmosphere also comes amid days of unrest in the area following the shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright, a Black man, by a police officer during a traffic stop in a Minneapolis suburb.

Hundreds of people have gathered outside the heavily guarded Brooklyn Center police station every night since Sunday to protest the death of Mr Wright.

A man walks past a boarded business center near the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota on 18 April, 2021AFP via Getty Images
A man walks past a boarded business center near the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota on 18 April, 2021AFP via Getty Images

Two National Guardsmen suffered minor injuries early on Sunday when they were fired upon as they provided neighborhood security in the city.

Over 3000 members of the National Guard have been stationed in Minnesota to maintain order if Mr Chauvin is acquitted.

Security fencing surrounds the perimeter of the Hennepin County Government Center, while the fifth day of trial continues for Derek Chauvin, who is facing murder charges in the death of George Floyd, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, US, 2 April, 2021REUTERS
Security fencing surrounds the perimeter of the Hennepin County Government Center, while the fifth day of trial continues for Derek Chauvin, who is facing murder charges in the death of George Floyd, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, US, 2 April, 2021REUTERS

“This event highlights the volatility and tension in our communities right now,” said Major General Shawn Manke, Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General in a statement. “I ask for peace as we work through this difficult time.”

Minneapolis schools will also move to distance learning from Wednesday in preparation for any possible disruptions in the city caused by the proceedings.

Plywood covers a building front near the Hennepin County Government Center in preparation for the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on 28 March, 2021Getty Images
Plywood covers a building front near the Hennepin County Government Center in preparation for the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on 28 March, 2021Getty Images

Following Mr Floyd’s death in 2020, peaceful rallies gave way to nights of arson, looting, and vandalism in cities across the US, as protesters vented their grief and rage over the death

Looters smashed windows in nearby buildings, including the statehouse and local shops. Police were seen using pepper spray and other deterrent measures in an attempt to break up the crowds.

According to The Times, the city suffered $350 million in losses due to the unrest, with more than a thousand buildings either destroyed or damaged.

Mr Chauvin, 45, is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Read More

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