- The Washington Times - Monday, April 19, 2021

The Metropolitan Police Department has restricted officers from taking days off and placed them on longer shifts in preparation for unrest in the wake of the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial in Minneapolis.

As of Monday, the department stopped granting additional leave for all full-duty officers and suspended the optional sick leave and expected tardiness program, according to an internal MPD email obtained by WUSA9.

Officers will be on 12-hour shifts until further notice, the department told The Washington Times.

“The Department is fully activated, therefore there will be a visible increase of members across all seven districts,” said department spokewoman Kristen Metzger. “As with all First Amendment demonstrations, MPD will be monitoring and assessing the activities and planning accordingly with our local and federal law enforcement partners. I am unable to discuss any additional tactical operations.”

City officials said Monday they have requested National Guard assistance following the outcome of Mr. Chauvin’s trial. On Monday evening, the D.C. National Guard announced it is activating about 250 staff to support local law enforcement as needed until May 9.

The Guardsmen were asked to assist police with street closures at multiple intersections to help keep pedestrian areas safe. 

Closing arguments in the Chauvin trial began Monday, and the jury will deliberate before rendering a verdict.

Mr. Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, faces murder charges in the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died last May after Mr. Chauvin had kneeled on his neck for more than nine minutes. Videos of the encounter sparked protests last summer against police brutality and racial injustice nationwide, including the District.

Since May, the MPD has arrested and processed 742 people for curfew violations, riot-related burglary and other unrest-related events, including four arrests Saturday in the 800 block of Seventh Street NW.

Other law enforcement agencies in the region are making preparations ahead of the trial’s outcome.

The Maryland State Police are reviewing the latest information regarding potential issues and areas of concern and sharing it with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, said spokesman Greg Shipley. State Police Superintendent Col. Jerry Jones is reportedly in contact with the Baltimore Police commissioner, with whom he and his staff will meet to discuss plans this week.

Virginia State Police have been in contact with local counterparts to offer assistance as they normally would in anticipation of any type of civil unrest, said spokeswoman Corinne Geller.

Meanwhile, the Arlington County Police Department is monitoring the trial and staying in regular contact with other agencies, but there are no known events scheduled in the county at this time, spokeswoman Ashley Savage said.

In Minnesota, Gov. Tim Walz has activated the National Guard in anticipation of unrest after the Chauvin trial as part of Operation Safety Net, said Maj. Matt Murphy of the National Guard Bureau Public Affairs.

Maj. Murphy said the operation is a joint effort with the Minneapolis Police Department, the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, the state of Minnesota and local jurisdictions.

“Currently approximately 3,000 National Guardsmen are activated to support law enforcement efforts out in the community to protect people, preserve the freedom of speech and prevent property damage,” he said.

The governors in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin also have activated their National Guards, according to Maj. Murphy.

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