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Arkansas Governor Anticipates Demonstrations After Conviction Of Officer In George Floyd Death

Demonstrators at the Arkansas State Capitol last June following George Floyd's death at the hands of Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin.
Chris Banks

With the conviction Tuesday of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson is prioritizing safety first, as he anticipates potential demonstrations that may occur in the state and throughout the nation.

“We understand that there may be civil protests that will occur,” Hutchinson said at a press conference. “We are prepared to make sure that they can be handled peacefully and that we can make sure that the protestors, if that is the case, are well protected and have the right to exercise their first amendment.”

Chauvin’s conviction comes almost a year after the initial protests that took place throughout the nation after the death of George Floyd at the hands of police.

Floyd, who died after Chauvin knelt on his neck for roughly nine minutes, became a symbol of both community and social uprising, with many gathering at the Arkansas State Capitol last summer to march side-by-side at the height of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The protests in Arkansas stretched over several weeks and included tense moments between demonstrators, law enforcement, and occasional counter protestors. Dozens of arrests were made at locations throughout the state.

Demonstrators last summer made use of a Cashapp account aptly titled “LRFreedomFund” to provide money towards bail for those arrested during the protests.

Chauvin was convicted on both second and third-degree-murder charges, along with one count of second-degree manslaughter. Almost a month after his trial originally began, Chauvin now faces up to 40 years for just the second-degree murder charge alone.