CHICAGO — The state will send 125 members of the National Guard to Chicago on Tuesday in anticipation of a verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial.
The guardsmen were activated and are being sent to the city at the request of Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Gov. JB Pritzker said in a state news release.
The guardsmen and -women will help with street closures and will not interfere with protests, “much the same role as Guard members played in previous deployments,” according to the state
“Our greatest priority at all times is ensuring the safety and security of the public,” Lightfoot said in the news release. “While there is no actionable intelligence at this time, we want to be fully prepared out of an abundance of caution. Our city has a long history of peacefully expressing its First Amendment rights and I encourage residents to exercise their rights to free speech this coming week thoughtfully, respectfully and peacefully.”
Pritzker has also directed the Illinois State Police to support Chicago police with “additional troopers,” though the state did not say how many troopers it would have help local officers.
The city will also put out “infrastructure assets … to ensure the safety of residents, neighborhood commercial corridors and critical businesses,” according to a news release from the Office of Emergency Management and Communications. That typically means the city has deployed garbage trucks and other large vehicles so they can be used to block streets and protect businesses.
Chauvin is the former Minneapolis police officer who kneeled on and killed George Floyd last summer. He has been charged with murder in Floyd’s death, with a verdict expected Tuesday.
The killing of Floyd led to protests in Chicago and throughout the nation for weeks.
At the same time, Chicago was rocked by unrest, looting and vandalism.
Hoping to stop the chaos, Lightfoot raised bridges Downtown, cut off CTA service, blocked access Downtown and imposed a 9 p.m. curfew on all residents. The National Guard was called on to block off the Downtown area, among other things.
The tactics were highly controversial — and a watchdog report found the city and police failed on every level in its response to the unrest.
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