Minneapolis Public Schools have halted in-person classes this week ahead of the impending verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin.
Minneapolis Superintendent Ed Graff said the decision was made after the district discussed the course of action with “Hennepin County sources.”
“Our community is moving through an extraordinarily challenging time as we react to the killing of former MPS student Daunte Wright by a Brooklyn Center police officer, just as testimony in the trial of former officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd concludes and the case goes to the jury,” Graff wrote.
Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the killing of George Floyd. Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds.
Closing arguments are expected Monday in the trial before jurors will begin deliberating.
“If I were you, I would plan for long and hope for short,” Judge Peter Cahill told jurors on Friday. “Basically, it’s up to the jury how long you deliberate, how long you need to come to a unanimous decision on any count.”
Graff added that teachers across the district would be providing students with opportunities to process and examine issues raised by the trial.
“As appropriate and as they are comfortable, teachers will give students the opportunity to process their feelings, how this feels to them personally and how they are impacted by having the eyes of the world on Minneapolis,” Graff wrote. “Understanding that every educator will approach this differently, MPS has provided all educators with resources that are appropriate both to the age of the students being taught and the background and experience of the educator.”
Chauvin’s attorney argued that Floyd died from preexisting conditions, but prosecutors made it plain that Chauvin’s senseless actions resulted in his death.
“Mr. Derek Chauvin betrayed this badge,” Special Assistant Attorney General Jerry Blackwell told the jury during the opening arguments. “Citizens who are under arrest should never be put in the prone position except only momentarily to get them under police custody or control.”