Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo looks on as Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey addresses the media on the preparations for the upcoming Derek Chauvin trial on Wednesday Feb. 17, 2021 in Minneapolis. (Richard Tsong-Taatarii/Star Tribune via AP, Pool)

Minneapolis beefs up security before trial in George Floyd’s death

Trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin set to begin March 8

Minneapolis leaders said Wednesday they are beefing up security plans, preparing to close streets and making sure businesses and residents are well informed as the trial approaches for the former police officer charged in the death of George Floyd.

Mayor Jacob Frey said safety will be a top priority “during this very difficult time in our city” and that the trial of Derek Chauvin will likely increase trauma for many, especially as a verdict draws near.

“We believe it is on us to honour the magnitude of this moment and ensure that our families in this city feel safe,” Frey said.

Floyd, a Black man who was handcuffed, died May 25 after Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck as Floyd said he couldn’t breathe. Floyd’s death sparked protests in Minneapolis and days of violent unrest in which buildings — including a police station — were burned and damaged.

RELATED: George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

RELATED: ‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Chauvin, who was fired, is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter. Jury selection in his trial is scheduled to begin March 8; opening statements are scheduled for March 29.

The city has already started installing a security perimeter around the Hennepin County Government Center, City Hall and nearby buildings.

Frey said a law enforcement presence in the city will increase in coming weeks, and will peak during the trial, with the help of up to 2,000 National Guard members and 1,100 law enforcement officers from 12 agencies.

On Monday, the Democratic-controlled Minnesota House pulled a bill that would have created a $35 million fund to bolster security during Chauvin’s trial. Frey said Wednesday that its time to pass that measure, noting that Minneapolis has seen a dramatic loss in revenue due to COVID-19.

“There is no place for gamesmanship or politics over these next couple of months in ensuring the city of Minneapolis is safe,” he said.

The intersection at 38th Street and Chicago Avenue, which has become a memorial to Floyd and a community gathering place, will remain closed to vehicle traffic until after the trial. Sixth Street South will be closed at the courthouse starting March 1.

Erik Hansen, the city’s director of Economic Policy and Development, said the city is advising business owners to consider emergency preparedness plans, add physical barriers such as boards over windows or security gates, make sure their insurance policies are up to date, and upload important records online.

The city’s Office of Violence Prevention is working on a tool kit for neighbourhood groups and communities to help those who are most impacted by violence deal with trauma that could be triggered by the trial or protests. The city is also expanding its efforts to keep residents informed, with plans to send out information on social media, radio stations and other channels to help dispel rumours, address community trauma and provide information on street closures and other public safety issues.

City Council member Jamal Osman said the first step in rebuilding trust is honesty and good communication.

“The city cannot control what happens in the courtroom across the street. And we cannot, unfortunately, control what happened in the past,” Osman said. “But what we can control is our future. How honest, how transparent, and how direct we are in communicating with our affected communities. Today is a good first step.”

Amy Forliti, The Associated Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A rendering of the new Nanaimo Correctional Centre. (IBI Group Architects image)
Designs come in for Nanaimo’s new jail

City’s design advisory panel supports height variance at Nanaimo Correctional Centre

The City of Nanaimo is administering a petition-against process to determine if property owners in the downtown core are in favour of establishing a business improvement area. (City of Nanaimo image)
Nanaimo’s downtown property owners to decide if they want new BIA

City council votes to administer petition-against process for business improvement association

Police in Nanaimo hope the public can help locate a guitar and travel bag stolen from a vehicle in a downtown hotel parking lot. (Photo submitted)
Gibson guitar, Louis Vuitton bag stolen from vehicle in Nanaimo

Items taken from car in Coast Bastion Hotel parking lot last week

Doug Routley is the chair of a special committee on reforming the Police Act. (File photo)
Routley selected chair of a special committee on reforming the Police Act

Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA acknowledges there will be a lot of material to process

Nanaimo RCMP are looking for a suspect who smashed the window of an adult toy store and made off with more than $1,200 in merchandise. (File photo)
Nanaimo sex shop out $1,200 in merchandise after suspect steals ‘colossal’ product

Suspect smashed window of Whispers Adult Superstore overnight Feb. 21

The area on Cordova Bay Road where ancestral human remains were discovered Feb. 22. (Submitted photo)
Human remains discovery a reminder of B.C. Indigenous culture dug up and displaced

‘These are the people who inspired and birthed the generations that we now have here’

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

Activists from the Fairy Creek Blockades hold the injunction application notice which was submitted by logging company Teal Jones to the B.C. Supreme Court. The application, which asks to have blockaders removed from the sites that stop access to cut blocks, is set to be heard on March 4. (Photo contributed/Joshua Wright)
Activists hunker down to protect Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew from logging

Forest company Teal Cedar applies for injunction to remove seven-month-old blockades

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

The victim of the homicide on Cowichan Lake Road early Monday morning was 17 years old, and was stabbed in the incident. (File photo)
Duncan homicide victim was 17 years old

RCMP report that teenager was stabbed

(File photo)
RCMP arrest man after report of gun-toting threat-maker near Parksville schools

43-year-old man taken into custody; students at nearby schools were asked to stay inside

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Most Read