Mar 1, 2021 - Politics

Minneapolis on edge ahead of Derek Chauvin trial

Photo illustration of a police helmet with an umbrella handle sticking out of the bottom.

Photo Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photo: Anik Rahman/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin over the killing of George Floyd is set to begin in just one week, and tension is palpable in many parts of the city.

What's happening: Barbed-wire fences, concrete barriers and plywood are fortifying city buildings and private towers downtown, as officials prepare for the possibility of large crowds and civil unrest.

  • Thousands of National Guard troops and law enforcement officers will be on hand to help with security.
  • Businesses are grappling with whether to board up or stay open.
  • Protesters are vowing to show up downtown to demand justice and more police accountability.
  • And organizers at 38th and Chicago are planning to create "space for grief, love and community-building" at the site of George Floyd's killing.

What you're saying: "Way more on edge than normal." "Anxious about civil unrest." "Very concerned that police/security presence will escalate the situation again." "Scared that justice won’t be served, but determined and ready to stand with my neighbors and raise my voice."

What's next: City staff will hold another briefing at 10 a.m. Monday to go over plans ahead of the March 8 start of jury selection. Watch here.

  • The Minnesota Court of Appeals, meanwhile, will hear oral arguments in the prosecution's request to reinstate third-degree murder charges ahead of the trial.

What you can do: Cassie Sawyer, a Twin Cities therapist who specializes in race-based trauma, has seen an influx in clients since May.

  • She recommends leaning on community, especially "people you feel safe with and that you trust," moving your body through walking, dancing or art, and tapping into spirituality or ancestral wisdom.
  • Sawyer's practice, Root to Crown Healing & Wellness, offers reduced rates to Black, Indigenous and people of color clients who suffer financial hardship.

Go deeper: Torey's dispatch from downtown in Axios Today.

This story first appeared in the Axios Twin Cities newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.


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