Around 250 members of the National Guard were activated to support local law enforcement response to possible demonstrations in Washington, D.C., the District of Columbia National Guard announced Monday.
The D.C. National Guard will be deployed until May 9 as a supplement to local law enforcement after D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency Director Christopher Rodriguez requested their assistance, according to the agency. The jury began day two of deliberations over the trial of the former Minneapolis police officer charged with George Floyd’s death Tuesday, CNN reported.
“At the request of Dr. Rodriguez, Director of the D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, the District of Columbia National Guard is in a support role to the Metropolitan Police Department and we are prepared to help provide a safe environment for our fellow citizens to exercise their first amendment right,” D.C. National Guard Adjutant General Brig. Gen. Aaron R. Dean II said in a statement.
“This is our home, and we are dedicated to the safety and security of our fellow citizens of the District and their right to safely and peacefully protest,” Dean II said in a statement.
Update: The Secretary of the Army has approved DC’s request. 250 unarmed members of the National Guard are being activated in case a verdict in the Chauvin case prompts major protests in DC. https://t.co/ZlKj7qCs0P
— Julie Zauzmer (@JulieZauzmer) April 19, 2021
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is charged with second and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, CNN reported. Floyd died in police custody after Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes in May 2020.
Floyd’s cousin Paris Stevens urged protesters to remain peaceful as the family prepares for the jury’s decision, CNN reported. (RELATED: REPORT: US Spent Nearly $500 Million To Deploy National Guard To DC)
“They have the right to protest. Of course, we want a peaceful protest. We don’t want any other American to be hurt, anyone. But protesting is a way for us to be heard,” Stevens said, CNN reported. “Use your voice, but remember the message.”
Members of the D.C. National Guard will help local law enforcement with street closures to maintain safety in pedestrian areas, according to the agency.
National Guard troops from around the U.S. were deployed to the U.S. Capitol building after a deadly riot where supporters of former President Donald Trump breached the building on Jan. 6, the Daily Caller reported.
Around 2,300 National Guard troops remain stationed at the Capitol until May 23 at the request of the Capitol police, NBC Washington reported. Some governors refused the request for their troops to remain in D.C., though enough officials approved the extension to fulfill the request.
The National Parks Service, which issues permits for First Amendment demonstrations in public spaces around D.C., did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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