Protesters, law enforcement agencies plan for activity following Chauvin trial verdicts

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FLORENCE, Ala. – Protests across the country have continued throughout the year following the death of George Floyd and now the Chauvin murder trial is coming to a close, some people are worried about another outbreak of protests.

Here in North Alabama, Black Lives Matter and Project Say Something protests have continued over the course of a year from Florence to Marshall County, and even downtown Huntsville.

News 19 reached out to several groups to ask if there are any planned protests following the verdicts.

Project Say Something based in Florence frequently protests against police brutality, confederate monuments, and any social justice situation that’s high on their radar. Their founder, Camille Bennett, says Project Say Something plans to organize statewide now that the Chauvin trial is beginning to wrap up.

Nothing is firmly set in place, says Bennett, but they should have a better idea in the coming days.

With protest plans in the works across the country, News 19 reached out to several law enforcement agencies to see if they are making any special preparations.

Florence police say they are closely monitoring events relating to the Chauvin trial. They add that the outcome could reverberate in the Shoals community.

“It has been our practice and I think our reputation, that the Florence Police Department will allow and support people who decide to exercise their First Amendment rights to assemble and protest,” said Florence Chief of Police Ron Tyler. “Our responsibility, however, is to properly discern between peaceful protests and unlawful conduct. Based on the behavior of those protesting in Florence over the past year, I certainly don’t anticipate any issues.”

This is the same stance most law enforcement agencies in the area said.

Marshall, DeKalb, and Jackson County Sheriff’s Offices said they haven’t heard of planned protests, but they don’t expect it to be a problem.

Madison County Sheriff’s Office, along with Huntsville and Decatur Police Departments say they have no special plans in place, but they are prepared.

“We are always prepared for the possibility of protests regardless of the national or local spotlight may be,” said Brent Patterson with the Madison County Sheriff’s Office. “We encourage peaceful protests and hope whatever the verdict is that Madison County remains peaceful as well as the rest of the nation.”

If there are any definite plans set in place once the Chauvin trial ends, News 19 will keep you updated.

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