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Police and Community Engagement around the Chauvin Trial Verdict

-By Chief Jim Bueermann (ret.) and Lisa Broderick

Chief Jim Bueermann (ret.) as a 40-year veteran of policing, Jim served as President of the National Police Foundation in Washington, DC America’s oldest non-partisan, non-profit police research organization from 2012 to 2019.  Prior to that, he served as Chief of Police for the Redlands, CA Police Department for 13 years until 2011.  Lisa Broderick is Executive Director of Police2Peace.

As the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin concludes, many police chiefs, sheriffs and community leaders around the country are preparing their organizations for local reaction to the trial’s outcome.

There are several potential outcomes, including:

  1. Chauvin’s conviction on all, or at least the most serious, charges;
  2. His conviction on the less serious charge(s);
  3. A hung jury on the most serious charges; and,
  4. Chauvin’s acquittal.

Community reaction could range from celebratory gatherings to peaceful protests to protests-turned-violent/destructive rioting.

Astute leaders of all kinds are taking steps now to engage their police departments and community leaders and plan for measured responses to local verdict-related community reactions.

These planning efforts include consideration for the depth of emotion so many Americans are experiencing as a result of George Floyd’s death, that have now been exacerbated by the recent fatal police shooting in Brooklyn Center, MN.

The following recommendations are a summary of police/community planning efforts currently under way across the country:

  1. Identify and begin meeting with community group leaders as well as political leadership on the issue
    1. Discuss the effect the verdict is likely to have in your community
    2. Discuss with them their plans for possible protests in light of all possible verdicts
    3. Share ideas for pro-social responses
    4. See whether agreements can be made about the protests being considered by them
  2. Prepare statements ahead of time to release for all possible verdicts
    1. Discuss prepared statements with community group leaders and political leaders ahead of time
    2. See whether agreements can be made about these statements
    3. Consider planning and holding a live or Facebook press conference to occur when the verdict is released in which community group leaders and political leaders are standing with police leadership side by side

 

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