L.A. County cities and law enforcement agencies are taking precautions as the closing arguments were given in the murder trial of former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin in connection to the death of George Floyd.
The May 25 death of Floyd, 46, caused civil unrest throughout the country and across L.A. County as protesters felt his death was caused police brutality.
Weeks of unrest in the summer of 2020 led to confrontations with LAPD, incidents of destruction to property and looting.
Beverly Hills Police Chief Dominck Rivetti said the city is being proactive in taking measures as it was affected by the summer unrest. Businesses are now boarding up windows, limiting operations and placing concrete barriers on sidewalks.
“While we are hopeful for a peaceful time following the verdict, the Beverly Hills Police Department is well prepared and committed to protecting our city,” Police Chief Dominick Rivetti said in a statement.
Businesses in downtown Los Angeles have also boarded up their storefronts ahead of the trial results.
— SYKD (@saiddibinga) April 19, 2021
Both LAPD and L.A. County Sheriff’s called for peaceful protests over the past week as the trial came closer to an end.
“I strongly support the 1st Amendment & the right to protest,” Sheriff Alex Villanueva said. “But if it becomes violent or lawless, then swift/decisive lawful action will be taken to protect life, property, & maintain civil order. We can exercise our rights peacefully, without violence.”
Villanueva said in a Fox 11 interview that the Sheriff’s Department will have multiple Sheriff’s response teams ready to deploy if necessary as they look to separate the peaceful protesters from “people who intend on doing harm.”
Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric Nelson, called for a mistrial because of public comments made by California congresswoman Maxine Waters, the way the trial has been portrayed in media and prosecutor Jerry Blackwell’s wording during the closing statements – repeatedly calling the defense’s arguments “stories.” Nelson noted that he asked for jurors to be sequestered at the start of the trial, further motioning toward a possible mistrial appeal.
The jurors are currently in deliberation to decide if the state argued each charge against Chauvin beyond reasonable doubt.
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