City of Savannah prepares for potential demonstrations, urges protesters to contact police

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The City of Savannah is preparing Tuesday for potential demonstrations in the wake of Derek Chauvin’s guilty verdict.

In the past, Savannah Mayor Van Johnson has marched alongside peaceful protestors, which he says he will again support.

“I’m the mayor for four years, but I’m a black man every single day,” said Johnson at his weekly press conference on why the trial affected him personally.

Last year, George Floyd’s death sparked mostly peaceful protests in Savannah, but the mayor says he is still working with county leaders and police to be ready, if it happens again after Tuesday’s guilty verdict.

He is urging those who wish to protest to contact police for assistance.

“We have marched with them and we have moved traffic as nessesary to help keep demonstrators safe and that’s all we want to do,” said the mayor.

“If we’re available and we can assist with people’s peaceful assembly… and we can assist them doing it in a safe and respectful way, we’ll assist them with that,” said Savannah Police Chief Roy Minter.

Minter says the department has a staffing and operational plan ready to go. He is also communicating with community leaders to update them on local and national intelligence.

“We are not going to allow people to wreck our city and I hope that it’s still or collective sentiment,” said Mayor Johnson. “There’s a difference between peacefully protesting and being unlawful and we will deal with unlawfulness in a very decisive manner.”

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