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As the trial begins for the former Minneapolis police officer charged in the death of George Floyd, Philadelphia police say there are no specific threats of violence or unrest in the city.
- Well, thousands all across the Delaware Valley rallied in Philadelphia and other major cities following the killing of George Floyd, last year. Action News reporter George Solis is live with reaction from our local lawmakers and communities about the start of the Derek Chauvin trial. George?
GEORGE SOLIS: Yeah, good afternoon, Rick. So far, Philadelphia police, telling me, they have no threats of violence or unrest in the city at this time. That said, they along with community advocates are keeping a close watch on things. We're talking from talk on the streets to activity on social media to get ahead of any misconduct should it unfold.
The trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has stirred emotions that extend far beyond the courtroom. In Philadelphia, the violence and destruction completely removed from the calls of social justice following the death of George Floyd and Walter Wallace Jr. has some in the hardest hit sections of the city concerned about how this trial will play out.
RIBHI MUSTAFA: I was fortunate enough to be spared the first one. The second one, unfortunately, they vandalized the store, and they destroyed it completely.
- Ribhi Mustafa fears his business corridor in West Philadelphia would not survive another wave of vandalism and expressed concern, if police would be equipped, should the unthinkable occur.
- I really have no faith in them quelling or taking care of anything that could come unexpectedly.
- Working to rebuild that trust our elected leaders, like state representative Joanna McClinton, whose office is down the very same corridor.
JOANNA MCCLINTON: So we've got to stay vigilant in making sure that not only is policing fair, but that there's reform.
- In a statement to Action News, police commissioner Danielle Outlaw acknowledged that "frustration and outrage is still felt in the city," but is sure that the agency will "closely monitor the situation as the trial proceeds." In a separate statement, the city's managing director added, "PPD has improved its intelligence gathering capabilities to deploy adequate resources, where needed." Groups, like the Black Clergy of Philadelphia, are also prepared to mobilize by using members to advocate and preach their message in neighborhoods.
ROBERT COLLIER: Change doesn't occur from violence. They occur through peaceful negotiations.
- Much of that dialogue already occurring through online church services and social media.
- So our messaging is common peace. Our messaging is that we don't settle on anything. Violence only begets violence.
- Now, community advocates do tell me they do feel that some lessons were learned following last year's unrest, but they are still keeping a close watch as is much of the country on how this trial will play out. We're live along the Ben Franklin Parkway. George Solis, Channel 6, Action News. Shari?
- All right, George, thank you.