The streets of Minneapolis will be filled with significantly more law enforcement when the murder trial involving former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin begins in March.
Mayor Jacob Frey on Wednesday announced that as many as 2,000 National Guard soldiers and 1,100 other members of law enforcement, including from the State Patrol and Hennepin County Sheriff's Office, will be readily available during the trial.
"Safety is a top priority through this very difficult time in our city," said Frey, noting that Minneapolis has experienced unprecedented levels of trauma since Floyd's death in May 2020.
"We anticipate that trauma increasing as we get closer into jury deliberations and the verdict, and we believe that it is on us to honor the magnitude of this moment and ensure that our families in this city feel safe," Frey said.
The presence of law enforcement and National Guard troops will increase throughout the trial, with Frey saying the peak capacity of 2,000 soldiers and 1,100 other law enforcement will be seen "closer to jury deliberation."
The trial for Chauvin, who is charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd, is scheduled to begin the week of March 8 at the Hennepin County Courthouse in downtown Minneapolis. The trial is expected to begin with preliminary motions and jury selection, followed by the prosecution delivering its opening statement on March 29.
"We expect this whole process to last until about mid- to late-April," said Minneapolis City Attorney Jim Rowader.
A citywide curfew is not planned, but Frey said he's "not taking any options off the table."
South 6th Street, which leads to the Hennepin County Government Center, will be closed to traffic beginning March 1. Other closures or delays can be expected during the trial.
"No doubt, there will be disruption downtown in the form of street closures," said Frey, noting that the city is working on a plan to minimize delays and disruption as much as possible.
A separate trial for three other former Minneapolis officers, Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng, who are each charged with aiding and abetting the unintentional murder of Floyd, will be held jointly beginning Aug. 23.