Hindustan Times (East UP)
Chauvin’s trial over, tense America waits for jury’s decision
MINNEAPOLIS: Just outside the entrance to Smile Orthodontics, in a Minneapolis neighbourhood two soldiers in jungle camouflage and body armour were on watch on Monday, assault rifles slung over their backs. A few steps away at the Iron Door Pub, three more National Guard soldiers and a Minneapolis police officer stood out front, watching the street.
Across the street was a boarded-up building spray-painted with big yellow letters: “BLACK LIVES MATTER ALL YEAR ROUND.” More than 3,000 National Guard soldiers, along with police officers, state police, sheriffs deputies and other law enforcement personnel have flooded the city in recent days, with a verdict looming in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with murder and manslaughter after kneeling on the neck of a dying George Floyd during an arrest last May.
12 sequestered jurors were expected to consider three weeks of testimony from 45 witnesses, including bystanders and medical experts, along with hours of video evidence that make up the most high-profile US police misconduct case in decades.
Chauvin, who is white, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree “depraved mind” murder and second-degree manslaughter. But in the city that has come to epitomise America’s debate over police killings, there are places today in Minneapolis that can feel almost like a police state. It leaves many wondering: How much is too much?
Concrete barriers, chain-link fences and barbed wire now ring parts of downtown Minneapolis. Meanwhile hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of stores and other buildings have been boarded up across the city. Behind all the security are the days of violence that began with protests over Floyd’s death. City officials estimate the city suffered roughly $350 million in damage, mostly to commercial properties.
On Monday afternoon, soon after lawyers’ closing arguments and the Chauvin case going to the jury, about 300 protesters marched outside the courthouse.
There was no sign of violence.