Minneapolis leaders address concerns over potential unrest during Chauvin trial

Public safety leaders say they aren't aware of any threats targeting Minneapolis as the city prepares for the start of the Derek Chauvin trial.

Minneapolis and state leaders hosted a town hall on Wednesday to reassure residents they are prepared for any possible unrest that could result from the trial of the former police officer charged in the death of George Floyd.

Preparations around the Hennepin County Government Center have been underway for weeks and planning for the trial has been in the works for months. Leaders say the difference between what happened last year and any trouble during the trial will be that preparation.

Panelist on Wednesday for the "Black Life Amplified" virtual town hall included Minnesota Commissioner of Public Safety John Harrington, Minneapolis City Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins and Mayor Jacob Frey, among others.

Leaders made it clear the plan to keep the Twin Cities safe "Operation Safety Net" has been put together starting in August and will be focused on protecting First Amendment rights and peaceful protests while preventing any large-scale violence.

When asked about any threats for the trial, Harrington said leaders aren't aware of any active planning.

"There are no credible active threats to the trial or Twin Cities that we are tracking," said Harrington. "There is what we would describe as lots of chatter, so there’s lots of aspirational conversations from groups that mention the trial regularly but none of them are talking about coming to a place at a specific time."

Panelists also recognized the pain and trauma over the past year following Floyd's death. The Minneapolis Office of Violence Prevention says they've been closely working with neighborhoods to make sure needs are met in the community. Jenkins added that they are also working to keep George Floyd Square as a safe gathering and healing space.

"We at 38th and Chicago, George Floyd Square, we are really asking people to hold this space sacred," said Jenkins.

Leaders promise they will be working hard to make sure there is clear communication and lots of it throughout the trial with the public and within Minneapolis neighborhoods.