BEVERLY HILLS (CBSLA) — Across Southern California, cities are preparing for potential protests and civil unrest ahead of an expected verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the fired Minneapolis police officer charged in George Floyd’s death.
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Beverly Hills Police Department Chief Dominick Rivetti said his department was on full alert throughout its residential and business districts. He also said other law enforcement personnel and private security companies had been hired to offer support and coordinate with Beverly Hills police.
“While we are hopeful for a peaceful time following the verdict, the Beverly Hills Police Department is well prepared and committed to protecting our city,” Rivetti said in a statement.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva also said his department was preparing to take an “early intervention and high visible presence” approach.
And while community leaders, residents and police hope for peace and prepare for the verdict, it was clear that there was a nervous anxiety building in the region.
“I honestly think that this country is going to go up in flames if there’s not accountability for what happened to George Floyd,” Keyanna Celina, a social justice activist, said.
And should the city erupt, like it did last summer, Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore said his department would be ready, though he said they were calling for calm as demonstrated in vigils held over the weekend in Hollywood and Leimert Park.READ MORE: Dodgers On Brink Of Elimination After Braves Rough Up Urías, Dominate In Game 4
“They’ve been the expression of a voice, voices of frustration of anger, of discontent, of trauma, and they’ve been able to be heard because actions of violence did not occur,” Moore said.
If a demonstration does take a turn, Villanueva said those peacefully protesting should leave.
“You see rocks flying, bottle flying, you see people breaking windows and things, just leave,” Villanueva said. “You are not part of a peaceful protest anymore, somebody hijacked it from you.”
Law enforcement agencies were not giving many more specifics about their strategy other than to say that there would be mutual aid and that calling in the National Guard would again be an option throughout L.A. County.
A verdict could come any day with social justice advocates expected rallying in South L.A. every day until the jury reaches a decision.
“I don’t have any hopes in particular, you know,” Celina said. “I’ve just been Black in this country for 36 years, and I’m standing on the shoulders of people who have seen this thing for too long.”
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“I think that the city of Beverly Hills learned a lot from that first incident, and they won’t allow that type of destruction of property ever, ever again,” he said.