In Minneapolis, A Fortified City Awaits Chauvin Verdict
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — More than 3,000 National Guard soldiers, along with police officers, sheriff’s deputies, and other law enforcement personnel have flooded Minneapolis with a verdict looming in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer charged with murder in the death last year of George Floyd.
But in the city that has come to epitomize America’s debate over police killings, there are places where Minneapolis can feel almost like a police state.
Concrete barriers, chain-link fences, and barbed wire now ring parts of downtown Minneapolis, so that authorities can quickly close off the courthouse where the trial is being held if trouble breaks out.
It’s become normal to pass convoys of desert-tan armored vehicles on highways or stumble across armed soldiers at intersections.
Speaking on Monday to reporters, top law-enforcement officials stood alongside local community leaders and vowed to protect property, allow peaceful protests, and try to de-escalate tensions before demonstrations turn violent.
“We know we need to do better. What happened the last few days wasn’t something we wanted,” Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson said at the press conference. “But we had to act to keep the community safe. And I will never back down from anybody when it comes to keeping this county safe.”