WASHINGTON (WDVM) — As the country awaits a verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial, officials in major cities are bracing for a potential outcome of protests and riots. District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser said she and other city officials have been planning for the possible unrest since before the trial started.
As the prosecution and defense made closing arguments in Minnesota on Monday, April 19, the mayor explained that D.C. Police have been operating on 12-hour shifts for the past week and would continue to do so for however long it is needed.
The city also put in a request for one thousand National Guard members to mobilize in the District on standby. The request was approved on Monday evening; however, the Department of Defense will only be mobilizing 250 guard members to help the District keep order at targeted locations.
Christopher Rodriguez, D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency Director, explained, “(We are requesting the guard to be) at traffic locations downtown, as well as some enhanced security for Metro stations in the downtown corridor; as well as a quick reaction force that can be deployed anywhere in the city in the event of large scale protests.”
Rodriguez added that while the District requested the guard’s presence, only the President can arm them.
When asked if the city will take this posture every time there is an emotionally charged case across the country, Mayor Bowser said she did not know.
She added, “Speaking of how we will police and provide for public safety, and not just police, but Fire-EMS, D.C. Health, DHS, which are always part of our First Amendment demonstration preparations, we have to evaluate that, what we’ve done is evaluate that for each event.”
Related protests have already sparked in the city. Over the weekend, MPD data shows four people were arrested. Each of the four was charged with assault on a police officer and possession of a destructive device. A 15-year-old was among those arrested and was also charged with possession of a prohibited weapon. None of those arrested are noted as being from the District.