When Derek Chauvin’s trial begins on March 8 in downtown Minneapolis, Saint Paul officials intend to be ready to accommodate peaceful protests but prevent the violence and property damage of last May’s riots following the death of George Floyd while in the custody of Chauvin and three other Minneapolis police officers.

At a City Council meeting on February 24, Saint Paul Deputy Police Chief Stacy Murphy outlined the steps being taken by the department, including weeks of specialized training for almost 1,000 first responders. The police have also been meeting with local business associations to discuss how they can protect themselves against property damage.

Business owners are being urged to install better lighting and security cameras. Boarding up or laminating windows and doors are other options. Loose outdoor fixtures or decorations should be secured or removed, police said. Businesses are also being advised to consult with their insurance carriers to ascertain what is and is not covered.

Police have also been meeting with groups who plan to protest. According to Murphy, Saint Paul police have a good relationship with most of the groups that plan to stage protests and demonstrations in the city.

About 1,000 National Guard members will be deployed in Saint Paul. City staffing changes are planned to handle the anticipated volume of 911 calls and to deploy mobile field forces as needed. One focus is to protect hospitals and government and law enforcement buildings.

About 1,000 National Guard members will be deployed in Saint Paul. City staffing changes are planned to handle the anticipated volume of 911 calls and to deploy mobile field forces as needed. One focus is to protect hospitals and government and law enforcement buildings. New fences are going up around police buildings, including the Western District police headquarters on Hamline Avenue. No curfews are planned at this point, Murphy said, but if they are needed, they are more effective when imposed regionally rather than city by city.

The Saint Paul Police Department’s Western District, in partnership with City Council member Chris Tolbert’s office, will host a briefing for local businesses about preparing for potential civil unrest surrounding the Chauvin trial. The briefing will be held virtually at noon on Friday, March 5. To register for the link, visit tinyurl.com/jstjsb83.

 

house ad

 

The City Council will hold a public hearing on March 3 on a proposed ordinance that would forbid people from bringing items that can be used as weapons to large public gatherings such as protests and parades. Bricks, bats, poles and glass bottles are among the items that would be outlawed.

According to City Council president Amy Brendmoen, parade and event organizers have approached the council with concerns about the ordinance, so further amendments and public hearings are likely. The ordinance would not take effect until 30 days after its passage, so it is unlikely to affect any protests during the Chauvin trial.

— Jane McClure

COMMENTS TERMS OF SERVICE

The Villager welcomes comments from readers. Please include your full name and the neighborhood in which you live. Be respectful of others and stay on topic. We reserve the right to remove any comment we deem to be profane, rude, insulting or hateful. Comments will be reviewed before being published.

Leave a Reply