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 dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

The total number of cases in the region since the pandemic began is now at 7,334

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Suspect arrested after armed robbery in downtown Castlegar

Victim was allegedly threatened with knife and bear spray

The Skinny Genes Foundation is raising awareness and funds for a rare genetic disorder that claimed both his father and uncle.
NHL players, local businesses help Kootenay man raise funds and awareness for rare genetic disease

Signed NHL jerseys and local business donations up for auction in Skinny Genes Foundation fundraiser

(file photo)
Nomination packages available for Castlegar byelection

The mayor’s seat and one council seat will be on the ballot

Columbia Avenue Redevelopment — Phase 2 will begin in February. Image: City of Castlegar
Construction on the Columbia Avenue Redevelopment Project beginning March 1

Crews will be clearing brush and trees and removing asphalt

Dr. Bonnie Henry leaves the podium after talking 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
COVID: 589 new cases in B.C., and 7 new deaths

No new outbreaks being reported Feb. 26

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

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

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

Arrow Lakes Caribou Society said the new caribou pen near the Nakusp Hotsprings is close to completion. (Submitted)
Maternity caribou pen near Nakusp inches closer to fruition

While Nakusp recently approved the project’s lease, caribou captures are delayed due to COVID-19

The Canada Revenue Agency says there were 32 tax fraud convictions across the country between April 2019 and March 2020. (Pixabay)
Vancouver man sentenced to 29 months, fined $645K for tax evasion, forgery

Michael Sholz reportedly forged documents to support ineligible tax credits linked to homeownership

Then-Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson looks on as MLA Shirley Bond answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria. (Chad Hipolito / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. Liberal party to choose next leader in February 2022

Candidates have until Nov. 30 to declare whether they are running

Most Read