Tensions in the US have increased over the past week due to new reports of deadly police shootings and pending the verdict in former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s murder case.
Continued protests erupted across the country this week over police shootings of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old black man, and Adam Toledo, a 13-year-old boy.
In addition, cities are preparing for unrest as the nation awaits the verdict of Chauvin, who has been charged multiple times with the murder of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in May last year.
The city of Minneapolis and several major US cities have called for increased police presence and the deployment of National Guard troops.
Earlier this week, protests erupted in Minnesota after police murdered Wright in the city’s Brooklyn Center on Sunday. Former police officer Kim Potter, a white woman, shot Wright during a traffic stop. Local police said the officer thought she was deploying her Taser but fired her service weapon instead.
The protests against the shooting continued in Minneapolis for the sixth day in a row on Friday.
Most of the demonstrations were peaceful, but on Friday, a small group of protesters began throwing objects and trying to break a fence surrounding Brooklyn Center police.
Of the estimated 500 protesters, 136 people were arrested that day, the state said on Twitter.
Another 24 were detained for violating curfew on Wednesday and 72 who were arrested on Tuesday.
Protesters also demonstrated the police’s murder of Toledo after new camera images of the body were released on Thursday following his death. The officer, after a chase, caught up with the boy, and Toledo turned and raised his hands in the surrender pose.
Police claimed they saw the 13-year-old holding a gun, although that was not immediately apparent from the video.
The footage prompted activists and lawyers to accuse authorities of lying about the circumstances surrounding his death, which occurred on March 29.
Demonstrations were held in Chicago, New York City to demand justice for Toledo. About 1,000 people gathered in Chicago on Friday night, according to NBC News. The outlet reported that some people chanted ‘stop killing children’.
Protesters also gathered in Black Lives Matter Plaza in DC Friday to protest the murders of Wright and Toledo. Some collided with police after attempting to walk through dining halls, throwing fireworks and lasers at officers.
Protesters demonstrating against the deaths in Oakland, California, set small fires, smashed windows and sprayed businesses, according to the outlet.
And in Portland, a riot was called on Friday night after law enforcement officials said protesters had attacked an Apple store and set a fire outside the property for the same reason.
To heighten tensions, the nation is awaiting the verdict of Chauvin’s trial. The closing arguments are expected to begin on Monday. The country’s cities are building their law enforcement presence in anticipation of unrest.
The Minnesota National Guard told The Hill that it maintains more than 3,000 Guardsmen to assist with potential protests, and is “willing to bend that number if necessary to support civil authorizations.”
Barbed wire is also reportedly being installed around police buildings.
The City of Brooklyn Center announced a curfew for 11 p.m. on Saturday night, after instituting the same curfew on Friday evenings.
A 10 p.m. curfew was instituted on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Minneapolis is moving its public schools to virtual learning starting Wednesday as Chauvin’s trial draws to a close.
Police presence is also expected to increase in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Atlanta and New York.
Similar protests broke out nationwide just a year ago over the murder of Floyd Breonna Taylor and the murder of Jacob Blake.
Images of bystanders showing Chauvin on top of the man with his knee on Floyd’s neck went viral, sparking outrage that sparked a national dialogue about police revival.