NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Anticipation is mounting as New York City and the surrounding areas brace for a verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial.
As CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas reported, the NYPD is getting ready for possible protests.
Times Square is one of a handful of locations the police are focusing on because of vandalism and destruction of property last summer. But after mounting tensions with peaceful protesters, the Department says this time officers’ tactics will be different.
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With Chauvin’s case is in the hands of a Minneapolis jury, many across the city are bracing themselves for the verdict.
“If he’s found not guilty, I think it’s going to be a problem,” one person said.
“If the verdict isn’t like, Hey, he’s going to prison forever,’ then I know everyone’s going to protest,” another person said.
“If he’s acquitted, I think there would be a lot of riots,” another added.
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Police sources told CBS2’s Ali Bauman the Department has scheduled deployment of specialized units, such as the Strategic Response Group and the Critical Response Command, to mobilize from fixed positions throughout the city.
Bike patrols will be deployed to areas like SoHo, Times Square and the Barclays Center, where small groups vandalized businesses in June.
Police said they are taking a different approach following lawsuits, including one from the attorney general, that alleged the use of excessive force and other techniques that injured peaceful protesters last summer.
CBS2 asked Chief of Department Rodney Harrison last month about how the NYPD was addressing the criticism.
“I don’t think Community Affairs was out in front of a lot of these protests in the beginning. Going forward, they’re going to be leading the charge regarding working with the protesters,” Harrison said.
Lessons that have been learned are also changing the approach for businesses.
“I think that was a sad day in New York when we had to board up, but we’ve come a long way,” said Mark Jaffe, of the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce.
Jaffe said businesses are prepared, without having to board up.
“We feel confident that the verdict will be just and we can move on,” Jaffe said.
For now, they wait, while all eyes are on Minneapolis.
Sources told CBS2 the NYPD has not yet instituted mandatory 12-hour shifts for officers, but that remains an option depending on the jury’s decision and the fallout.
CBS2’s Ali Bauman contributed to this report