Derek Chauvin Acquittal Fears Fueled by Minneapolis Decision to Suspend In-Person Schooling

The suspension of in-person Minneapolis public school classes has fueled fears that former police officer Derek Chauvin will not be found guilty in the George Floyd murder trial.

Ahead of Chauvin's imminent verdict, Minneapolis Public Schools on Friday sent families a letter stating that in-person classes will be replaced by distance learning from Wednesday to Friday, according to local news. Students can stay at home during those days and all events will be canceled, but buildings and meal pickups will still remain open.

In the letter, Superintendent Ed Graff said the decision was informed by a conversation with sources from Hennepin County.

"These plans are made based on what we know today," he wrote. "Should trial activities change, we will re-evaluate, adjust plans and let families and students know as soon as possible."

With closing statements in Chauvin's trial set to occur on Monday, before the jury is scheduled to start deliberations, authorities in Minneapolis and surrounding cities have ramped up security in anticipation for a possible not guilty verdict, which would spark further unrest and protests against police brutality and systemic racism.

Some Americans online have interpreted the school closures as a sign that Chauvin will be found not guilty.

"Minneapolis is closing all public schools this upcoming week in anticipation for the verdict of Derek Chauvin. So, they're definitely letting him walk," one user shared on Twitter.

Minneapolis is closing all public schools this upcoming week in anticipation for the verdict of Derek Chauvin. So, they’re definitely letting him walk.

— Goonica Denise Arnold (@jalenjbernard) April 18, 2021

Another wrote: "Minneapolis... you already know what time it is, being that they close the schools & s***. Burn the whole f***in' s*** down."

Minneapolis... you already know what time it is, being that they close the schools & shit.

Burn the whole fuckin’ shit down.

— Juanita’s Lil’ Bwoy (@nylesxnature) April 18, 2021

"We all know how this ends, to the point that they're literally closing schools because of it," one user wrote.

We all know how this ends, to the point that they’re literally closing schools because of it

— Allan (@Really_Allan) April 18, 2021

Another added: "It's like they already know the verdict and know it's about to kick off regardless."

Its like they already know the verdict and know its about to kick off regardless 🤨

— Francesca (@watermelons66) April 18, 2021

Graff told parents that students may discuss the "racism and violence that has been highlighted in these tragic incidents."

"As appropriate and as they are comfortable, teachers will give students the opportunity to process their feelings, how this feels to them personally and how they are impacted by having the eyes of the world on Minneapolis," he wrote in the letter, according to ABC-7.

Newsweek reached out to Minneapolis Public Schools and the City of Minneapolis for comment. This story will be updated with any response.

Floyd died May 25, 2020 after Chauvin, a white Minneapolis police officer, kneeled on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes as he gasped for air. Floyd's death triggered a nationwide reckoning and Black Lives Matter protests across the country against police brutality.

Chauvin has been charged with murder and manslaughter. The 45-year-old former officer pleaded not guilty to second-degree unintentional murder, second-degree manslaughter, and third-degree murder charges. The other three officers at the scene were also charged and will go to trial in August.

Before the trial began, barbed wire and barriers were placed outside the Hennepin County District Court, in the city that was set on fire by angry demonstrators nearly one year ago. Chauvin's trial is one of the most high-profile police brutality proceedings in recent years.

On Saturday evening, California Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters joined hundreds of Black Lives Matter protesters in the nearby city of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, to protest the police killing of 20-year-old Daunte Wright.

Asked about the Chauvin trial, Waters told reporters that if he isn't found guilty, "we've got to stay on the street and we've got to get more active, we've got to get more confrontational. We've got to make sure that they know that we mean business."

George Floyd protesters hold anti-Chauvin sign
A protester holds a sign with a photo of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin during demonstrations following the death of George Floyd on May 30, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. Mario Tama/Getty Images