President Joe Biden’s administration is in touch with local authorities in Minnesota ahead of the impending verdict in Derek Chauvin’s trial, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday.
Psaki also said Biden would not make his views known on the case until the jury releases a verdict.
Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder, second-degree manslaughter and third-degree murder. He faces a potential sentence of up to 75 years if convicted. The prosecution and defense will make their closing statements throughout Monday, followed by jury deliberation.
“We’re not going to get ahead of the jury,” Psaki said in response to questions. “What I can say is broadly speaking, we are in touch with mayors, governors, local authorities. Of course, our objective is to ensure there is a space for peaceful protest.”
“We continue to convey that while this country has gone through an extensive period, especially the black community, of pain, trauma and exhaustion as we’ve watched not just the trial but of course additional violence against their community over the past several weeks. It’s important to acknowledge that and elevate that.”
A reporter then pressed Psaki on whether Biden would be disappointed with a not guilty verdict.
“I think we’re not gonna get ahead of the jury,” Psaki responded. “When the jury makes their deliberations and a verdict is found I’m certain the president will speak to that.”
Psaki also addressed comments from Democratic Florida Rep. Maxine Waters, who called for protesters to “stay on the streets” and “get more confrontational” ahead of the verdict. Waters visited Minnesota Sunday after Minneapolis endured months of violent protests and riots. (RELATED: Biden’s Plan To Tell Immigrants Not To Come To America Won’t Work, CBP Union Spokesman Says)
Psaki said Biden sympathizes with the anger of the protesters but said all demonstrations must remain peaceful.
.@PressSec is asked about Rep. Maxine Waters saying that protesters need to “get more confrontational”:
“Protests must be peaceful.” pic.twitter.com/pjvd6Jq4fX
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) April 19, 2021
Minnesota has suffered nearly a year of protests and riots in the wake of Chauvin’s killing of George Floyd in early 2020 in a wave of violence that splashed across the entire country. Renewed riots and protests arrived last week with the police shooting of Daunte Wright, also in Minnesota.
Watch the full press briefing below.