BEVERLY HILLS (CBSLA) – Cities in Southern California are bracing for possible protests and riots ahead of the sentencing in the case of Derek Chauvin, the fired Minneapolis police officer accused of killing George Floyd.
In Beverly Hills, which was hit hard by burglars last summer, some businesses had re-barricaded their doors and windows and K-rails were ready to block the streets.
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Beverly Hills Police Chief Dominic Rivetti said his department was on high alert in all residential and commercial areas. He also said other law enforcement and private security firms have been hired to assist and coordinate with Beverly Hills police.
While we look forward to a peaceful post-conviction period, 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 is preparing for a quick response and high visibility.
And while community leaders, residents and police hoped for peace and prepared for the verdict, it was clear that nervous unrest was brewing in the area.
I truly believe this country would explode if there was no accountability for what happened to George Floyd, said social justice activist Keyanna Celina.
And when the city erupts, as it did last summer, LAPD Chief Michel Moore says his department is ready, but also calls for calm, as the weekend showed during vigils in Hollywood and Leimert Park.
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They were expressions of voices, voices of frustration, anger, resentment, trauma, and they could be heard because the acts of violence were not, Moore said.
If the protest takes a bad turn, Villanueva says the protesters should leave peacefully.
If you see rocks or bottles flying, if you see people smashing windows and things like that, just walk away, Villanueva said. You’re no longer part of the peaceful protest, someone stole it from you.
Law enforcement officials gave no additional details about their strategy, other than that there would be mutual aid and that National Guard deployment throughout Los Angeles County would again be an option.
The verdict could come at any time, as social justice advocates gather in South Los Angeles every day until the jury reaches its verdict.
I don’t have much hope, Selina said. I’ve only been black in this country for 36 years, and I stand on the shoulders of people who have been in this situation for far too long.
In Beverly Hills, restaurateur Peter Garland said he still takes reservations at Porto Via.
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I think the city of Beverly Hills has learned a lot since that first incident and will never allow this kind of destruction of property again, he said.