Chauvin trial: Hennepin County closes downtown municipal buildings, advises employees leave before verdict

Nation and World News

In this image from video, defendant, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, listens as Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill presides Friday, April 9, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn. Chauvin is charged in the May 25, 2020 death of George Floyd. (Court TV via AP, Pool)

(NEXSTAR) – Officials in Hennepin County, Minnesota, asked county employees to leave the downtown Minnesota area before the jury delivered its verdict at the murder trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd.

Carolyn Marinan, the public relations officer for Hennepin county, confirmed that all downtown buildings owned by the county were instructed to close prior to the reading of the verdict on Tuesday afternoon, with employees being asked to vacate the area “as a precautionary measure.”

The courthouse itself has also been surrounded with concrete barriers and razor wire, and thousands of National Guard troops and law enforcement officers were brought in ahead of the verdict. Some businesses were also boarded up with plywood.

The verdict, arrived at after about 10 hours of deliberations over two days, was scheduled to be delivered on Tuesday afternoon in a city on edge against the possibility of more unrest like that that erupted last spring.

Charges against Chauvin include second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, with convictions on some, none or all of the charges possible. The most serious charge carries up to 40 years in prison.

Geoerge Floyd died last May after Chauvin, a white, 45-year-old former police officer, pinned his knee on or close to the 46-year-old Black man’s neck for about 9 1/2 minutes as Floyd gasped that he couldn’t breathe.

Chauvin was fired from the police department the following day.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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