The trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is scheduled to begin next month, and Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz isn’t waiting to make sure he is prepared for the kind of chaos that could accompany any other verdict than “guilty on all charges.” In an executive order on Friday, Walz called for the National Guard to stand by in readiness for the inevitable demonstrations and unrest that could accompany the trial.
“The upcoming trials of the former officers involved in the death of George Floyd have raised the potential of civil unrest in the Cities of Minneapolis, Saint Paul, and nearby communities,” Walz said. “The Mayors of Minneapolis and Saint Paul have requested assistance from the State, including the Minnesota National Guard, to support public safety and security and to prevent or respond to potential civil unrest. In addition to other state resources, the National Guard can supplement local law enforcement efforts to keep the peace, ensure public safety, and allow for peaceful demonstrations.”
Floyd’s death, of course, set off the most destructive riots in U.S. history in Minneapolis and many other major American cities throughout the summer. Buildings were burned, businesses were looted, police were attacked, and, in some cases, people were hurt and killed by what the media persistently referred to as “largely peaceful protests.”
In remarks to the Star Tribune newspaper, Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington noted that he’s never seen such a dramatic effort to keep the peace as the one being prepared for Chauvin’s trial.
“It’s never happened in my 40-plus-year career where we’ve had to pull together this kind of multi-jurisdictional effort to keep the peace. This is an exceptional time,” Harrington said.
Minnesota officials are no doubt right to be concerned; there is a very good chance this verdict is not going to turn out the way so many BLM protesters believe that it should. Not because the boys in blue are immune to conviction but because there are extenuating factors that cast serious doubt on whether or not Chauvin “murdered” Floyd. According to court documents, Chief Hennepin County Medical Examiner Andrew Baker, who was brought in to perform an independent autopsy, concluded that Floyd’s death came about as a result of a drug overdose.
“AB (Andrew Baker) said that if Mr. Floyd had been found dead in his home (or anywhere else) and there were no other contributing factors he would conclude that it was an overdose death,” read a memo reporting on a conversation with the medical examiner.
The final conclusion, however, was that Floyd died as a result of homicide. A jury may very well find room for reasonable doubt.
And then the you-know-what is going to hit the fan.