City Square Park

Chaska social justice groups organized Solidarity Sunday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in City Square Park. Nearby, at Firemen's Park, protesters will gather at 2 p.m.

Editor's note: Both the Sunday Solidarity event and protest have been canceled in person. Organizers say virtual details and more information will be released soon.

Events following the death of George Floyd are planned in Chaska this weekend, according to ROAR (Residents Organizing Against Racism) leaders and some Facebook groups. 

Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin faces third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges in the May 25 death of Floyd, according to a criminal complaint issued Friday.

ROAR has planned "Solidarity Sunday" at City Square Park for most of the day on Sunday, May 31. Another group plans to meet at Firemen’s Park that afternoon and march to the Chaska Police Department, one block away.

ROAR organizer Jenna Cruz said they've been planning the City Square Park event for several days. 

"We just wanted to do an event that honors (Floyd's) death and just let our black and brown community members know that we stand in solidarity with them through all of this," Cruz said.

She said organizers respect the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic, noting participants can show up, keep their distance, and return home. 

The city of Chaska issued a statement on Facebook Friday from the mayor and City Council. It called Floyd’s death, recorded on video and showing an officer kneeling on his neck for several minutes, “horrific” and a “tragedy.”

It acknowledged “peaceful protests” are planned for Sunday.

“We respect the ability of our community to share their voices, and we will work together to ensure these gatherings remain safe and peaceful,” it stated.

The Carver County Sheriff’s Office, in a Facebook post, said it “acknowledges the rights of citizens to peacefully assemble, protest, and march, and (they) will accommodate these rights if the actions remain peaceful and lawful.”

The office said it will act “swiftly” and in accordance with the law to “stop those whose actions jeopardize the safety and wellbeing of any citizen or their property.”

Chaska Police Chief Ryan Seibert did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Solidarity Sunday is 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at City Square Park on Sunday, May 31.

“This is a peaceful and pandemic friendly opportunity, and all are welcome,” ROAR’s post stated.

ROAR said the city gave permission to use the park for the event.

The march is scheduled the same day, beginning at 2 p.m. at Firemen’s Park and traveling to the police department.

Organizers called for people of color and allies to “stand in solidarity with those who have suffered from police brutality.”

Organizers ask attendees to wear a mask and practice social distancing.

"Everyone's lumping rioters and protesters and vigils all into one category," Cruz said. "But I just think it's important that people respect that people are grieving and need to peacefully mourn."

The Chaska Police Department posted a Facebook statement Friday night.

"We are aware of peaceful demonstrations planned for this weekend in Chaska, and we are working closely with our law enforcement partners to ensure the safety of our residents and businesses," it read.

It said the department hasn't recommended that Chaska businesses close, but some have for portions of the weekend.

"We have not received any information of any specific threats or planned acts of violence, property damage, or other criminal acts in the City of Chaska," it continued. "We will continue to evaluate available information and reassess our public safety response as needed."

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