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Santa Monica Police Brace for Chauvin Verdict

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By Jorge Casuso

April 19, 2021 -- The Santa Monica Police Department has stepped up its security efforts as the jury in the Derek Chauvin murder trial begins its deliberations, Police Chief Jaqueline Seabrooks said Monday.

SMPD began gradually increasing its "field-based staffing" last Tuesday, when the trial in the killing of George Floyd last Memorial Day entered it final phase, Seabrooks said in a video update Monday morning.

The Department -- which is collaborating with local, regional and federal Law Enforcement partners -- also has boosted the number of personnel on its intelligence unit, conducted training and increased its "safety equipment inventory," the Chief said.

"We have an operational plan in place to respond to any type of incident and will have an increased number of personnel throughout the city providing a high visible presence," Seabrooks said.

The Chief stressed that "there has been no indication of any threats or any activities specifically targeting our community."

The verdict in the Chauvin trial comes as another Minnesota officer faces charges in the April 11 killing of Duante Wright.

Both incidents -- which involved the deaths of Black citizens at the hands of white police officers -- have ignited protests that turned violent.

"The women and men of the Santa Monica Police Department share in the collective disappointment these circumstances evoke," Seabtrooks said.

"We also recognize that these circumstances give rise to a strong sentiment that peaceful assembly is essential to promote systemic change.

"Because peaceful assembly, as expressive conduct, is protected by the 1st Amendment, the Santa Monica Police Department is committed to assisting and facilitating in this peaceful freedom of expression," Seabrooks said.

On Monday, both sides presented their closing arguments in the case of Chauvin, who is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd's death.

The jury must decide whether government prosecutors proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Chauvin, who is deemed innocent unless convicted at trial, is guilty of the charges against him.

If Chauvin is convicted of second-degree murder, he could face 10½ to 15 years in prison as a first-time offender, or he could receive a lesser term.

Seabrooks said the Department will continue to closely follow the trial, and provide the necessary updates if anything changes.

To view Chief Seabrooks' message, click here.

The Department also posted a checklist of security measures for businesses, many of which also apply to residents.

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