Minnesota is scheduled to begin its trial on March 8 of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who has been charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd. Floyd’s death triggered global protests and bolstered the Black Lives Matter movement.
Authorities are preparing for what they say is an effort to ensure public safety and protect businesses. They have placed barbed wired and concrete barriers at various locations in Minneapolis including the courthouse as part of the trial preparation plan. Named “Operation Safety Net” (OSN), the plan involves law enforcement and public health agencies from across the state.
The city is also deploying 3,000-plus police and National Guard troops, KARE reported. Among the agencies involved are the Minneapolis Police Department, Metro Transit Police, Minnesota National Guard, Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Minneapolis Field Office, among others, KSTP reported.
TMZ tweeted, “George Floyd Trial Courthouse Barricaded with Barbed Wire, Fencing”.
Lonnell Williams, host and producer of the popular web series 3LWTV, reminded TMZ that the victim, George Floyd, was not on trial. “This is the #DerekChauvinTrial. #GeorgeFloyd is NOT on trial. #DerekChauvin murdered him.”
Another Twitter user noted how expensive it was to secure the city and the accused. “it’s amazing they have all this money to protect a murderer in case there’s outrage if they let him off free but no money to invest in the neighborhoods he terrorized #DerekChauvin#GeorgeFloyd.”
“They’ll spend all that money and use all them cops to help a supremacist. Amerikkka y’all”, a Twitter user responded.
The city seems to be preparing for a “not guilty” verdict, Twitter users said. “They are preparing for a Not Guilty for the murder of George Floyd. They know its coming and you can bet they’re treat the protesters worst than the whites who attacked the Capital Building.”
“We want peaceful protest,” Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said. “We want to make sure that people are supported (and) we’re ensuring their first amendment rights, but we have seen sadly last year, and across this nation of ours, that you will at times get individuals who will want to hijack that moment and make it something more criminal and destructive.”
Major outrage is expected if Chauvin is found not guilty.
“What we’ve seen in so many other cities as we lead into trials involving Black men that have been killed by police officers, there’s great frustration, there’s anxiety and there’s trauma,” Mayor Jacob Frey said during a news conference in February.
Frey continued, “We anticipate that trauma increasing as we get closer into jury deliberations and the verdict, and we believe that it on us to honor the magnitude of this moment and ensure that our families in this city feel safe.”
Chauvin pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes on May 25, 2020, as Floyd repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe and called out for his dead mother. A second autopsy arranged by Floyd’s family found the cause of death to be “traumatic asphyxia due to compression of his neck and back during restraint by police.” The manner of death was homicide, KARE reported. The fatal arrest was videotaped and went viral. Nationwide protests broke out.
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Chauvin’s trial will be held separately from the other former cops who were also involved in Floyd’s death, The Star Tribune reported. J. Alexander Keung, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao are each charged with aiding and abetting manslaughter and murder. They will stand trial together in August.
Chauvin faces 40 years if found guilty.