Pritzker brings National Guard to Chicago ahead of Derek Chauvin verdict

Gov. Pritzker deployed the National Guard to Chicago before Derek Chauvin was found guilty of the murder of George Floyd.

Video Transcript

- Yeah, Mark and Tanya, many downtown businesses have already boarded up as a precaution. Luxury retailers here along the Mag Mile are not taking any chances. Alderman Brian Hopkins spoke to me this morning about some of the safety measures being taken here in the downtown area saying the city is over prepared.

ALDERMAN BRIAN HOPKINS: It means having the National Guard in place to do crowd control and traffic control, if necessary. It means having trained police officers who have been practicing for events like this, who now know what the appropriate response is to civil disobedience, whether it's looting or whether it's a protest that gets out of control.

- Starting today, 125 members of the Illinois National Guard will be pre-positioned in Chicago ahead of the Derek Chauvin verdict. The emergency mission comes at the request of Mayor Lightfoot. If needed, the guard will help Chicago police with street closures. Governor JB Pritzker tweeting, in part, saying they will not interfere with those peacefully protesting systemic racism and injustice. Meanwhile, Chicago's Office of Emergency Management and Communications is also preparing for the jury's decision. The mayor commenting on her request for guard troops at an unrelated news conference this morning.

MAYOR LORI LIGHTFOOT: We learned a lot over the course of last summer and fall about additional things that we needed to be doing. Last week, we activated what we call our neighborhood protection plan, which is putting our officers on high alert, very visible.

- Meanwhile, this morning, Black and Latinx organizers condemned the Mayor's plan to install National Guard troops ahead of the verdict. They say protesters who marched last Friday night outraged over the police killing of 13-year-old Adam Toledo were treated with a heavy hand by officers and they believe that's how protesters would be treated in the wake of any potential verdict in the Chauvin case.

SHIELA BEDI: Last Friday, during the peaceful protests that occurred, we saw clear indications that CPD plans to respond to protests that will arise out of the tragic death of Adam Toleda and the George Floyd verdict with the same violence and racism.

- Now, back here, live along the Mag Mile, Alderman Hopkins says there's no actionable intelligence at this time of anything expected to happen downtown. He also says the National Guard is here and stationed out of sight, close by, so they can respond in just minutes.