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

Lake City Secondary School principal Craig Munroe. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
OUR HOMETOWN: Lifelong learning

Lake City Secondary School principal Craig Munroe got his first teaching job in Williams Lake

Mayor Walt Cobb waves from atop a tractor as he turns onto Oliver Street in the Daybreak Rotary’s annual Stampede Parade. Patrick Davies photo.
Lack of funding, volunteers has Daybreak Rotary bowing out of Williams Lake Stampede parade

Club learned this week it won’t be receiving local government funding, for the second year in a row

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)
30 new COVID-19 cases, five more deaths in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases to 7,271 since testing began

Williams Lake’s Brock Hoyer films a segment of the newly-released The Way Home in the city of Revelstoke. (Ryen Dunford photo)
Brock Hoyer stars in new snowbike film: The Way Home

The film is completely free and was released on YouTube on Jan. 22, 2021

The body of Kenneth Seymour Michell was discovered Jan. 14, 2021, behind a Williams Lake business a day after he was released by a judge on conditions. (Photo submitted)
Family looks for answers after Indigenous man dies by suicide following release from custody

System does not care about Indigenous peoples, says First Nations Leadership Council

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

“Support your city” reads a piece of graffiti outside the Ministry of Finance office. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Slew of anti-bylaw graffiti ‘unacceptable’ says Victoria mayor, police

Downtown businesses, bylaw office and Ministry of Finance vandalized Wednesday morning

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Interior Health officially declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Creekside Landing in Vernon on Jan. 3, which was followed by the first death from the virus 10 days later. (Kaigo photo)
COVID outbreak over at Vernon care home

Creekside Landing cleared of coronavirus, despite additional death in last day

(Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents can reserve provincial camp sites starting March 8

B.C. residents get priority access to camping reservations in province

Most Read