MINNEAPOLIS is bracing for violence ahead of a verdict in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin – as vandals smeared pig's blood and left a severed pig's head at the home of an expert witness for his defense.
The Minnesota city has been transformed into a fortress over the weekend, with more than 3,000 National Guard troops drafted into the city and shops and businesses boarded up.
Read our Derek Chauvin trial live blog for the latest updates
More than 1,100 officers from public safety agencies across Minnesota have also been brought in to help stem any potential unrest, as the city waits with bated breath over a verdict in Chauvin's trial, which could be determined as early as this week.
The former Minneapolis police officer is facing charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and third-degree manslaughter.
All three of the charges are separate, meaning he could be found guilty of all, some, or none of them.
Ahead of a potential acquittal, some businesses have even hired private security firms to guard their premises through any protests or riots.
St. Paul, Minnesota, Mayor Melvin Carter also told CNN the city has "an enormous amount of safety measures" in place to quell any potential violence.
Carter said his biggest concern ahead of a verdict is "making sure that everyone in our community knows that there is justice in our justice system for them.”
“We are all eyewitnesses, we all know what we saw and nothing that happened in the trial changed any of that,” Carter said.
“And so, when the entire world gets to see it that clearly, at some point, this trial also becomes a trial of our criminal justice system…A trial to determine if this legal system that delivered us separate but equal, that has delivered us so many horrific decisions throughout the course of history, if this system is capable yet of valuing Black and Brown lives.”
In the early hours of Sunday morning, two members of the National Guard were hurt in a drive-by shooting.
While neither suffered serious injuries, local officials said the incident highlights the "volatility and tensions" in the community right now.
Elsewhere in the country, the former home of a key defense expert witness who testified last week that George Floyd's death was "accidental" was vandalized in California.
The incident occurred early Saturday morning in Santa Rosa as vandals sought to target former California cop, Barry Brodd.
In a statement, the Santa Rosa Police Department said that while Brodd no longer lives at the home, they believe the perpetrators were attempting to target him over his testimony.
Brodd, a use-of-force expert, took the stand last Tuesday where he claimed Chauvin was justified in kneeling down on George Floyd's neck for over nine minutes, did not use deadly force, and said he was "acting with objective reasonableness."
Then, at around 3am on Saturday,a group of vandals dressed in all black were seen throwing a pig's head and dashing red liquid over a home where Brodd once lived several years ago.
The group reportedly fled as the current occupiers of the home dialled 911.
In a statement, Santa Rosa PD said: "Mr. Brodd has not lived at the residence for a number of years and is no longer a resident of California.
"Because Mr. Brodd no longer lives in the city of Santa Rosa, it appears the victim was falsely targeted."
Around 45 minutes later, the same vandals are believed to have drenched a statue at a nearby mall and left a sign that read, "Oink Oink," police said.
The vandals have been accused of felony vandalism but have not yet been identified.
Brodd had a long career in law enforcement, including with the Santa Rosa Police Department, before becoming an expert witness on police procedures and policing tactics.
Speaking in court on Tuesday, Brodd compared the neck restraint used by Chauvin for nine minutes and 29 seconds to an officer firing a stun gun at a suspect who falls, hits their head, and then dies.
"This isn't an incident of deadly force," he declared before the jury. "That's an incident of an accidental death."
Brodd's testimony offered a drastic contrast from the dozens of witnesses who testified for the defense, concluding Floyd had died from low oxygen caused by Chauvin's restraint.
On cross-examination, he also said that police were justified in pinning down Floyd because he kept resisting instead of "resting comfortably".
"Did you say 'resting comfortably'?" Prosecutor Steve Schleicher asked in response.
"Or laying comfortably," Brodd answered.
"Resting comfortably on the pavement?" the prosecutor continued, to which Brodd responded, "Yes".
In the days since Santa Rosa Police Chief Rainer Navarro distanced his department from Brodd's testimony.
"Mr. Brodd has not been employed by the department since 2004.
"His comments do not reflect the values and beliefs of the Santa Rosa Police Department."
The damage to Brodd's former home exceeded $400, warranting a felony charge, police said.
The trial of George Floyd continues this week, with closing arguments set to begin on Monday morning.
Source: Read Full Article