GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids police and community activists alike are keeping a close watch on Derek Chauvin’s murder trial, but they’re also looking ahead to what could happen after the jury reaches a verdict.
“We’re hoping for the best, definitely, but we have to prepare for what history has shown us,” Coriana McDowell said.
McDowell is anxiously awaiting a verdict in the Chauvin trial in George Floyd’s death. She’s been following it since it began, and with every second, she fears there could be more unrest if the jury finds him not guilty.
“Do I think there’s going to be chaos, rioting, unruliness, all of that? Yes,” McDowell said.
News 8 asked McDowell of her response to some people saying the 2020 summer riots went too far, were chaotic and destructive.
McDowell said that it was but added, “It makes a noise to those who need to hear it. If this is what we have to do to get your attention, unfortunately, it’s going to happen.”
Sgt. Dan Adams with the Grand Rapids Police Department acknowledged there will be protests regardless of the trial’s outcome.
“There’s going to be a lot of passionate feelings, a lot of emotion,” Adams said.
GRPD said they are prepared for the unknown and encourage self-expression as long as it’s legal.
Police did not specify if they’re stepping up patrols or identify how they will handle expected protests differently than in the past.
With the verdict coming down possibly soon, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says she and law enforcement officials are keeping a very close eye on the situation.
“You can be assured that we are having a lot of conversations. We are staying very close to our local leadership to assure that as this trial comes to a conclusion we are thoughtful in a way that can keep people safe. We know that the world is watching and how we react is going to say a lot about who we are and where we want to be headed. It’s something that I personally am watching very closely as are my teams in law enforcement and form the local to the state level and certainly at the national level too,” Whitmer said Monday.
GRPD admittedly said the Chauvin trial affects them too.
“We all have strong feelings about it, and we want to do better and what’s best for Grand Rapids,” Adams said.
Regardless of how the trial may end, community activists said their fight for justice and work to create a more inclusive America continues.