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Grand Rapids Police "people can gather to protest peacefully with limitations" in Chauvin verdict

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Grand Rapids City Manager Mark Washington and Chief of Police Eric Payne issued a joint public statement Monday afternoon in preparation of the murder trial verdict of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

The outcome of the murder trial involving former Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, will undoubtedly generate emotional reactions.

The concern is how those emotions will be expressed.

The city of Grand Rapids recognizes the right to peaceful assembly and free speech. However, there are limitations when it comes to public safety.

In a news release, the Grand Rapids Police Department, “is aware there are those who may attempt to hijack peaceful events to cause chaos and destruction, turning these events into violent and unlawful.

We should not and will not allow our community to be further divided by those whose aims are not healing but harm – to our people, our businesses and our city. We have come too far together in these last eight months.”

The city says it’s prepared to respond if necessary and asks community organizers seeking peaceful assembly to contact the City’s Office of Special Events and the Grand Rapids Police Department.