Derek Chauvin’s Murder Trial Starts Next Week and Minneapolis Looks Like a War Zone

The city is putting up prison-style barbed-wire and high-security fences everywhere.
March 4, 2021, 5:53pm
A man walks with court files past boarded windows at the- Hennepin County Government Headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on March 3, 2021.
A man walks with court files past boarded windows at the- Hennepin County Government Headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on March 3, 2021. (Photo by Kerem Yucel / AFP) (Photo by KEREM YUCEL/AFP via Getty Images)

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Minneapolis is prepping for the murder trial of the cop who kneeled on George Floyd’s neck by barricading government buildings with prison-style barbed-wire and high-security fences—in some places three layers deep. 

After a summer of protests and major unrest, Minneapolis and St. Paul are sparing no expense ahead of the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, which begins Monday with jury selection. The city has wrapped the Hennepin County Courthouse, City Hall, and all five police precinct buildings with barbed-wire fencing that runs a cool $645,000.  

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The city is also beefing up its security presence by preemptively placing more than 1,100 police on patrol throughout the city for the trial, as well as mobilizing thousands of National Guard members, who have already started to arrive in the city, Minnesota Public Radio reported. 


Right now, block-long moats of coiled concertina wire surround the courthouse, held down by sandbags between two chainlink fences. Closer to the entrance of the Hennepin County Government Center, which contains the courthouse, is another barricade of unscalable fencing. The menacing barricades began sprouting up around the city late in February. 

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A pedestrian walks past cement barriers, fences, and barbed wire, which surrounds the Minneapolis City Hall ahead of Derek Chauvin's trial, in Minneapolis, United States, on February 26, 2021. (Photo by Tim Evans/NurPhoto via AP)​

The city’s five police precincts, located in different neighborhoods throughout Minneapolis, are also being surrounded by barbed wire fencing in an effort to deter protestors. Last summer, protesters broke through cement and wire blockades around the third precinct, near where Floyd was killed, and set it on fire, after all police personnel had left the building.

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A worker installs security fencing at the Hennepin County Government Headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on March 3, 2021. - Security measures are being increased and expected to see more police and National Guard soldiers in downtown Minneapolis before jury selection begins at the trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin in George Floyd's death on March 8. (Photo by Kerem Yucel / AFP) (Photo by KEREM YUCEL/AFP via Getty Images)

Store owners around both Minneapolis and St. Paul are preparing for the trial as well. Many businesses are placing wood panels over their shop windows and entrances. Minneapolis officials also encouraged business-owners in a release to have emergency preparedness plans and suggested they may want to hire additional private security to protect their shops, KARE 11 reported

Businesses in Minneapolis’ Lake Street and Bryant neighborhoods, an epicenter of last summer’s protests and the location of George Floyd Square, are being particularly cautious with preemptive measures as the trial draws nearer. About three miles northeast in Downtown Minneapolis, where boards from the original protests still stand, new blockades are being nailed into store windows for protection.

Downtown Minneapolis, where boards from the original protests still stand, new blockades are being nailed into store windows for protection. 

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In this handout provided by Ramsey County Sheriff's Office, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin poses for a mugshot after being charged in the death of George Floyd. (Photo by Ramsey County Sheriff's Office via Getty Images)

Multiple protests are already planned to take place across the city Monday. 

Over the summer, at the height of the protests, Minneapolis police used tear gas, rubber bullets, and riot batons against protestors, which promoted an outcry about civil rights concerns. At least one photographer was blinded in one eye after being hit by a police-fired foam bullet.

The city and surrounding suburbs were eventually put on mandatory lockdown, and the National Guard patrolled the streets for multiple days.