BLOOMINGTON-NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD) — Local law enforcement is planning ahead for potential protests following the outcome of the Derek Chauvin trial in Minneapolis.
Police in Bloomington-Normal said following last year’s summer riots, their officers are prepared for peaceful and non-peaceful protests following the guilty verdict of the former police officer.
Bloomington Police are prepared for the worst, but are hoping for the best in the aftermath of the trial for Derek Chauvin, a former officer who killed George Floyd last summer. Floyd’s death sparked nationwide outrage, including looting in Bloomington-Normal.
Bloomington Police spokesperson John Fermon said last year’s riots have them prepared for anything that may proceed the trial.
“We don’t have a lot of issues that some other cities or major cities have,” Fermon said.
Last year police were caught off guard after rioters busted in storefronts, lit fires and stole thousands of dollars worth of merchandise. Fermon said this year they’re prepared for anything.
“We’ve definitely learned a lot from that and we learned a lot of businesses and community members want to be sure their community is safe,” Fermon said.
Bloomington Police are working with their colleagues in Normal and the McLean County Sheriff’s Office for the possibility that protests may turn violent. Spokesperson for Normal Police Brad Park said it’s a multi-team effort.
“We want people to protest peacefully without any type of rioting or looting taking place,” Park said.
Park and Fermon said at this time, they’ve heard no rumors of any protests or riots, but that doesn’t mean police can let their guard down.
“We’re definitely keeping full manpower so we have officers on the street and able to respond if there is a situation,” Park said.
Black leaders with Bloomington-Normal’s NAACP chapter said situations that happen shouldn’t result in hospitalizations or jail time. President Linda Foster said they understand people’s frustrations, but don’t condone violent rioting.
“We don’t want blood to be shed and we don’t want windows to be broken. We want lives to be changed,” Foster said.
Both police departments said they support the peaceful protests, but remind people that rioting and looting are crimes and they will catch you if it happens.