This Friday, at 9:00 p.m. local time, several groups have planned a “Night Protest” outside the Hennepin County Government Center in downtown Minneapolis where the Derek Chauvin trial is being held. Organizers include the Counsel for American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Racial Justic Network (RJN), and Communities United Against Police Brutality (CUAPB). Initial indications from interest expressed on social media suggest that several hundred protestors could attend.
The primary question at this point is whether this “Night Protest” will serve as any kind of indicator of potential trouble following the verdict in the Chauvin trial? There is no evidence that violence is planned for this protest, but the timing begs the question – why schedule the protest to begin at 9:00 p.m.? Virtually all prior and contemporaneous protests and rallies have been scheduled from 5-7 p.m.
At least one of the protest groups, CAIR, has openly expressed support for violent protests in Portland, Oregon, and has been alleged to have loose ties to Islamic extremist organizations. The late start time on a Friday night may also facilitate violence as it will be well after sunset, has greater potential to become a social focal point for fears and concerns surrounding the upcoming Chauvin verdict, and the late Friday time may facilitate protestors staying out later, or even traveling to Minneapolis from surrounding areas after work. In the past, violence at protests has normally occurred after dark, and weekend protests have been more likely to turn violent.
Additionally, whether by mistake or intention, the organizers have incorporated some counterintelligence elements in their planning. All listed addresses online for the “Night Protest” is 300 6th Street Southeast in Minneapolis (across the river from downtown), whereas the actual Government Center is located at 300 6th Street South (in downtown). Intentional or not, this “mistake” may have the effect of reducing automated discovery of the protest through simplistic web scrapers or GIS-driven threat intelligence.
Of note, however, weather will not be conducive to a large protest, with Friday night conditions forecast to be cool and rainy. If a significant protest develops under these conditions, and especially if it turns violent, however, this would foreshadow even more significant levels of protests and violence following a verdict in the Chauvin trial than already expected. A verdict is expected in approximately 2-3 weeks.
Alpha Recon is currently providing intelligence support to security services protecting the downtown Minneapolis core. If your security/guard force company or other enterprise would like access to Alpha Recon’s sophisticated risk intelligence products—to gain early warning on emerging threats that may affect your personnel or assets—please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.