DC Braces for Chauvin Trial Verdict; 250 National Guard Troops to Patrol

The District is bracing for protests as the Derek Chauvin murder trial verdict nears

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What to Know

  • Mayor Muriel Bowser requested 300 National Guard troops but the District will get 250.
  • The mayor had requested the members as a quick response force, as well as for help with traffic control and security at Metro stations.
  • The mayor said she waited two weeks to hear back about her request for help.

Police are stationed around downtown D.C. and National Guard troops will stand guard as the District braces for potential demonstrations once a jury reaches a verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd. 

Metropolitan Police Department officers were on patrol Tuesday, with some on foot and some on bikes, including in Black Lives Matter Plaza. 

Mayor Muriel Bowser said Monday that the city was preparing for possible civil unrest. Jury deliberation in the trial began Monday afternoon. 

“We continue to hope that justice prevails in that trial. We also want to stay focused in our city on making sure everyone is safe,” Bowser said at a news conference. 

Officials announced Monday that 250 National Guard members will assist D.C. police. The mayor requested 300 members and waited two weeks for her request to be approved, she said.

The District is the only jurisdiction in the country that must request their own National Guard through the Secretary of the Army. The mayor said the two-week delay was unacceptable, just like the lag was in getting the National Guard to respond to the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

"It’s a problem. It's an absolute problem," she said.

“It’s our job to prepare for the worst,” Bowser said.

Vacation time for D.C. officers was cancelled, and officers are working 12-hour shifts. 

Storefront windows were not covered with plywood as of Monday night, as they were during previous demonstrations. One business owner said, though, that he was prepared to put it up quickly if demonstrations got out of hand.

Parking restrictions and intermittent street closures are possible in downtown D.C. this week as demonstrations are anticipated, police said. 

“The Metropolitan Police Department would like to remind motorists and pedestrians of increased activity in the downtown area,” police said in a statement. 

Police say drivers may want to steer clear of downtown D.C. and seek alternate routes. 

Late Saturday, three adults and a 15-year-old were arrested in D.C.’s Chinatown at a march over recent police shootings in the United States. Dramatic video shows fireworks going off close to officers near the Chinatown arch. Police can be seen ordering protesters to move back. Then someone off camera throws fireworks at them. 

Video shot by a Chinatown resident shows an aerial view of a firework exploding in the middle of the Seventh and H street NW intersection.

Outside Union Station, not far away, protesters clashed with officers and vandalized the Christopher Columbus statue and fountain.

D.C. protesters and police clashed in Chinatown late Saturday. Video shows fireworks going off near officers.

Chauvin, 45, is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Guilty verdicts must be unanimous, which means Chauvin’s defense needs to raise doubt in the mind of just a single juror. 

Fourteen jurors heard testimony, two of them alternates. If Judge Peter Cahill follows the usual practice of dismissing the last two chosen as alternates, the 12 who will deliberate will include six white and six Black or multiracial jurors.

Stay with NBC Washington for more details on this developing story. 

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