A nationwide toll of policing and the systemic racial injustice rekindled by Floyd’s death last summer has sparked further, sometimes violent, protests this week.
Minneapolis public schools will switch to distance learning starting Wednesday in anticipation of a trial verdict, according to a letter to students and parents from Superintendent Ed Graff.
Closing arguments will be delivered on Monday in the trial of the former officer who fucked Floyd’s neck and back for nine minutes and 29 seconds last May. Chauvin, 45, pleaded not guilty to unintentional second degree murder, third degree murder and second degree manslaughter.
Graff said all students will take distance education from Wednesday at the end of the week. Sports events and before and after school childcare will not take place.
“The racism and violence that have been highlighted in these tragic incidents can be widely discussed among some students in our schools,” Graff said in the letter posted on the school system’s website.
“As appropriate and comfortable, teachers will give students the opportunity to process their feelings, how they personally feel, and how they are affected by having the world’s eyes on Minneapolis.”
In downtown Minneapolis, where the sequestered jury will be holding deliberations, teams were seen this week setting up barbed wire around a police building. Similar steps have been taken at other police stations, according to Minneapolis Police spokesman John Elder.
National Guard troops have been deployed to parts of downtown Minneapolis.
The Hennepin County government center has been surrounded by fences and barricades since the jury selection began last month.
Other U.S. cities brace for verdict and protests
In Los Angeles, police have stepped up community outreach efforts and have plans to make additional officers available, according to Captain Stacy Spell.
“We also strongly encourage that if the people who want to express themselves see something, they say something,” he said. “We don’t want small groups of individuals with malicious intent to hijack what would otherwise be a peaceful protest.”
In San Francisco, police said officers’ discretionary days off had been canceled and additional officers would be deployed.
The Atlanta Police Department said in a statement that it is coordinating efforts with local, state and federal law enforcement and officers are ready to respond quickly.
In New York, police were preparing for protests.
“We have constant, literally daily conversations,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Obviously, so much will happen depending on the verdict and how it is expressed.”
NYPD commissioner Dermot Shea said the city has hosted an average of 10 to 20 protests a day since last year. “It’s never really over,” he told 1010 WINS radio on Wednesday.
“We’re just asking anyone who could voice their, you know, their concerns about this trial to work together, to do it peacefully, without material damage and we’ll all get through it together,” Shea said. .
The Philadelphia Police Department said it was ready “with additional personnel to secure and patrol strategic locations.”
In the nation’s capital, the Metropolitan Police Department will be “fully activated with members on 12-hour shifts starting Monday,” according to spokesman Hugh Carew.
Josh Campbell, Dan Przygoda, Hollie Silverman, Christina Carrega, Rob Frehse, Virginia Langmaid, Cheri Mossburg, Stephanie Elam and Jennifer Henderson contributed to this report.