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National guard activated in Washington DC ahead of Derek Chauvin verdict

Louise Hall
·2-min read
<p>DC National Guard arrive at the East Front of the US Capitol after pro-Trump protesters stormed the grounds leading to chaos, in Washington, DC, USA, 6 January 2021</p> (EPA)

DC National Guard arrive at the East Front of the US Capitol after pro-Trump protesters stormed the grounds leading to chaos, in Washington, DC, USA, 6 January 2021

(EPA)

The Washington DCNational Guard has activated approximately 250 members of the guard in the nation’s capital ahead of the verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis.

The guardsmen will help provide “a safe environment for our fellow citizens to exercise their first amendment right,” a press release from Captain Chelsi Johnson said.

Dr Christopher Rodriguez, director of the DC Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, requested guardsmen to assist police on behalf of the DC Metropolitan Police Department.

The release said that the guardsmen will assist police with street closures “at multiple intersections in order to provide safety in and around pedestrian areas.”

“This is our home, and we are dedicated to the safety and security of our fellow citizens of the District and their right to safely and peacefully protest,” the release said.

The nation is bracing itself for a verdict in the trial of Mr Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer accused of murdering George Floyd last May, as proceedings draw to a close.

After closing arguments were delivered on Monday following three weeks of testimony, the jury was sequestered to begin their deliberations in the last phase of the trial. It could take them days or weeks to come to a decision.

Mr Chauvin is facing charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. He pleaded not guilty to all three charges.

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It is predicted that a conviction or a conviction of manslaughter from the jury will likely result in protests from activists and police reform campaigners.

The trial has been regarded as one of the most important civil rights cases in a generation. With few cases of police officers in the US being charged or convicted over deaths in custody, the outcome could set precedent for future incidents.

Photographs have shown buildings throughout Minneapolis boarded-up in preparation for possible unrest across the area and 3000 members of the Minnesota National Guard troops have also been deployed.

The courthouse in which the anonymous jury will later deliver verdicts had already been fortified with concrete barriers and razor wire, ahead of the trial.

CNN reported that DC officials told reporters on Monday that they had requested National Guard assistance to help secure the district.

Acting Secretary of the Army John Whitley was reportedly scheduled to meet with DC Mayor Muriel Bowser on Monday afternoon regarding the request ahead of the confirmation on Tuesday.

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