President Joe Biden is keeping a watchful eye on this week's closing arguments within the Minneapolis trial of Derek Chauvin, fearful that a controversial verdict could inflame new racial tensions and further escalate a deepening crisis in confidence with the nation's police forces.
The President voiced his concern about potential fallout from the trial during a personal meeting last week with members of the Congressional Black Caucus, people conversant in the session said. For weeks, it's also been some extent of worry in conversations with vice chairman Kamala Harris, aides say, whilst the White House grapples with a cascading wave of mass shootings in America.
As he begins his fourth month in office, Biden is presiding over a rustic jittery , as protests in several cities over the weekend underscored the fresh urgency of a national depending on racial justice and police reform.
The White home is bracing for every week ahead that would be particularly volatile, with a Thursday funeral set for Daunte Wright another Minnesota man killed by a policeman -- along side new revelations from a police-involved shooting of a 13-year-old boy in Chicago, also because the verdict within the Chauvin trial.
The whipsaw of events, along side near-daily episodes of major shootings across the country, have only heightened pressure on both the President and Congress to carry police in charge of misconduct, a challenge now playing out against the backdrop of latest involves gun legislation.
The administration's objective, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday, is to make sure "space for peaceful protest" while acknowledging the "pain, trauma, and exhaustion" within the Black community, citing both the trial and other violence, including the shooting of Wright last week.
"After the closing arguments today, they'll come with a verdict, and we're not getting to get before those deliberations," Psaki said. "Broadly speaking, we are in-tuned with mayors, governors, local authorities."
She declined to mention whether there are preparations underway regarding the utilization of the National Guard , but said there has been a "range of conversations about the way to make sure that , regardless of the result , there's space for peaceful protest."
In the short term, the White home is closely tracking the events in Minneapolis and beyond in the week and is preparing for a spread of scenarios in one among the highest-profile cases of police brutality in three decades. Biden isn't scheduled to go away Washington in the week , but aides say he will monitor developments and is probably going to deal with the result of the trial.
"The public office is quite just a public office ," said Rep. James Clyburn, a South Carolina Democrat who is that the highest-ranking African American member of Congress. "I think the President can help set a tone within the country, there's no doubt in my mind."
The trial of Chauvin, a former Minneapolis policeman charged with third-degree murder within the death of George Floyd, has been on the radar of administration officials since Biden entered office. Closing arguments are set to start Monday during a case where Chauvin has pleaded acquitted .
Conversations between the White House, Minnesota authorities and leaders of civil rights organizations were underway by the time the proceedings began in late March. Officials believe that putting contingencies in situ might help avoid appearing flat-footed should violence escape in cities across the country.
"I'm very worried," said Rep. Karen Bass, a California Democrat, speaking Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union," where she talked about the potential for unrest across the country. "I don't think anyone in Minneapolis, frankly, anyone within the us or over an honest a part of the planet would understand the other verdict aside from guilty."
The President has been involved in a number of the conversations, consistent with officials, and has watched a number of the trial coverage that has dominated daytime cable news television. Biden spoke with Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, a Democrat, last week to assist gauge sentiment on the bottom , consistent with officials, and therefore the White House has been in touch with Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison.
"This was already a tinderbox," a senior White House official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to explain the thinking inside the West Wing. "It becomes more volatile by the day."Biden's aides have already begun considering and drafting statements for the President to deliver, either in writing or face to face , once a verdict is rendered, consistent with people conversant in the matter. Harris has also been involved in conversations with national Black leaders.
"Certainly, we would like to form sure that the American people involve justice -- we all want to understand that those calls are met," Harris said in an interview with The Grio. "And we'd like to all or any remember that when those involves justice aren't met, people rightly express their First Amendment right to talk out, to assemble and to precise their concern, their pain, their disappointment -- as long as it's peaceful protests."
And that, officials say, is that the balance the White House must strike: Acknowledging an expected outpouring of emotion while still calling for calm, a sentiment Biden sought last week as he addressed protests within the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center following the killing of Wright, who was shot by a White policeman who was reaching for a taser but fired her gun instead.In his meeting with Black lawmakers last week, Biden called the Wright shooting "God-awful" and acknowledged the uncertainty surrounding the Chauvin verdict.
"Lord only knows what's happened supported what the decision will or won't be there," he said.Biden wants neither to duplicate the heavily militarized response to protests under former President Donald Trump nor to seem absent within the face of violence or unrest directed at enforcement , one official said. He also believes he must directly acknowledge the systemic racism that pervades criminal justice in America, advisers say.Clyburn, who has often come to Biden's defense amid criticism from those that have questioned his long on record on race and policing, said he believes the President is uniquely suited to steer on this deepening national crisis."He doesn't get enough credit for sensitivity during this area," Clyburn said.
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