Security will be heightened around the Minnesota Capitol during the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
"We know that tensions are high and the world is watching with great anticipation," Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan said Friday during a hearing of the Advisory Committee on Capitol Security. "Minnesotans will continue to come to institutions of government, including our Capitol building, to exercise their First Amendment rights as the trial proceeds."
Members of the State Patrol, Department of Natural Resources and National Guard will patrol the Capitol during the trial, State Patrol Col. Matt Langer told the committee.
The state has had a tall fence around the Capitol since the end of May, and is adding traffic control measures around the complex. The fence is unattractive, Langer admitted, but he said it "has been a great benefit to us" and maintains space between protesters and the Capitol building.
Officials are preparing for the possibility of property damage, and gathering materials so they can quickly remove graffiti or board up a broken window with plywood if needed, he said.
The Capitol has been closed to the public since last March as the pandemic set in, and Langer said they expect it to remain closed at least until June 30. He stressed that a large part of their mission is ensuring the Legislature, which is in session, can continue its work.