Areas of Minnesota have been impacted by destructive protests throughout much of the past year in response to the death of George Floyd.
Ahead of a verdict announcement in the trial of the former Minneapolis police officer charged with Floyd’s murder, Democratic Gov. Tim Walz issued a state of emergency and took other actions in anticipation of further civil unrest.
“We can’t live like this”
The actions came after arguments in the trial concluded on Monday and the sequestered jury began deliberations that ultimately led to a guilty verdict for Derek Chauvin the following day.
Seven counties were included in the governor’s order, including those that make up the Twin Cities Metro area surrounding Minneapolis and St. Paul, according to KMSP.
During a news conference on Monday, Walz said: “We can’t live like this. We simply can’t. But we can’t have thousands of businesses burned and people put at risk.”
No preemptive curfews were ordered for the area, but the order left open the option for local leaders to employ such options as deemed necessary.
Walz announced other preparations, including a request for law enforcement backup from neighboring states and millions of dollars in emergency funding provided by the state legislature.
Peaceful protests and public celebrations
Reports indicate those funds would be used to reimburse out-of-state law enforcement agencies and cover any deployment costs and overtime pay accrued by state police and other entities, including the Minnesota National Guard.
At least 3,000 National Guard troops had been deployed to the area along with hundreds, if not thousands, of law enforcement personnel. Minneapolis had been fortified by security fencing, concrete barriers, and other measures around high-risk targets like the courthouse where the Chauvin trial was taking place.
Local businesses of all sizes took their own precautions, including boarding up windows and blocking points of entry.
In the end, of course, the precautions proved unnecessary in the wake of a guilty verdict on all three counts — second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree murder — and widespread celebrations among protesters.
The scene was similar in other cities across the country, where local leaders had prepared for the worst but welcomed peaceful marches following Tuesday’s verdict.