After a request made by Mayor Lori Lightfoot “out of an abundance of caution,” the Democratic governor announced 125 troops would be deployed to assist Chicago law enforcement beginning Tuesday.
Pritzker’s office announced in a statement that their “limited mission” would involve helping with managing street closures throughout potential protests.
It comes as the country braces for possible civil unrest over the judgment, which is expected in the following days.
Many Black Lives Matter followers have suggested that if Chauvin isn’t found guilty, there will be further disorders and violence.
Alongside nonviolent demonstrations, the death of Floyd—an African American man who died while in Minneapolis police custody—likewise sparked disorders, arson incidents, vandalism, and looting nationwide last summer, leading to tens of millions of dollars in property damage.
“It is critical that those who wish to peacefully protest against the systemic racism and injustice that holds back too many of our communities continue to be able to do so,” the Illinois governor announced in a statement. “Members of the Guard and the Illinois State Police will support the City of Chicago’s efforts to protect the rights of peaceful protestors and keep our families safe.”
The state of Chicago has recently seen many days of largely peaceful demonstrations and vigils after the fatal police shooting of Adam Toledo, a 13-year-old who was shot by an officer on March 29 after escaping the police.
Body-worn camera footage published by Chicago police records officer Eric Stillman shouting “drop it” before shooting Toledo in the chest. The teenager doesn’t seem to be holding a gun in the split second he is shot by the officer, though the body cam footage reveals that the officer found a handgun on the ground near the spot where Toledo fell.
A police union official in Minnesota has announced Daunte Wright would still be alive; he had complied with orders while a union official in Illinois called the fatal shooting of Toledo “justified” defensive action by police.
“The Illinois National Guard … will not interfere with peaceful protestors exercising their First Amendment rights, much the same role as Guard members played in previous deployments,” Pritzker’s office announced in a statement.
According to the statement, the troops are from the 33rd Military Police Battalion and are qualified specifically in riot control operations.
The Illinois State Police will further help the Chicago Police Department with extra troopers, Pritzker said.