APD preparing to respond in case unrest happens following Chauvin verdict

ATLANTA — Atlanta police are coordinating with other law enforcement agencies and the Georgia National Guard to respond if a verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial comes down this week.

Police said they will tolerate peaceful protests, but not protests that turn violent.

The jury began deliberating Monday in the murder and manslaughter trial of Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in the May 2020 death of George Floyd.

After Floyd’s death last year, Atlanta police deployed to counter nights of protests in and around downtown Atlanta. Many of the demonstrations were peaceful, but some were not.

The Georgia National Guard was deployed as well in an effort to keep the peace with a show of force.

“We support peaceful protests, but we should not tolerate people coming in to vandalize our city and encroach upon our citizens,” Atlanta interim police chief Rodney Bryant said.

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Bryant said the department has activated the joint operations center just in case. He said that APD didn’t collaborate quickly enough with their law enforcement partners last year.

He hopes by activating the JOC now, they can be ready if needed.

“Right now, we’re continuing to have conversations with federal and state partners, both the Georgia State Patrol and Fulton County Sheriff’s Office,” Bryant said.

Gov. Brian Kemp extended an executive order from last year that authorized the deployment of up to a 1,000 National Guard troops to support local law enforcement.

“We stand ready to support our law enforcement partners at the direction of Gov. Kemp. As always, our deployments in the context of potential civil disturbance is coordinated through the Department of Public Safety. We can quickly adjust our posture and add additional personnel and capability,” said the guard’s commanding general in a statement.

Right now, Bryant said their intelligence shows there are no indications of any threats or serious concerns as it relates to the Chauvin trial verdict.

Fulton County Sheriff Pat Labat said his office is also in communication with their partners. He said his deputies will work 12 hour shifts.

“I’ve reached out to each Chief across the county - all 15 cities as well as campus police chiefs - to advise as to our ability to assist with any law enforcement needs countywide,” Labat said.

“We support peaceful protests; however, we are prepared to assist as a force multiplier should any civil unrest arise across the county.”

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