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Derek Chauvin Trial: Philly Police Urge Port Richmond Businesses To Prepare For Possible Unrest Ahead Of Verdict

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin continues in Minneapolis. Although there is currently no timetable on when a verdict might come, police in Port Richmond are urging business owners to prepare for possible civil unrest.

Philadelphia police say there's no known threat, but officers in Port Richmond worry looting may happen regardless of the outcome in the Chauvin trial. Now, some businesses are on high alert.

"To be prepared, you know, it may happen again," said Farid Ajaj with Rotana Furniture.

Workers at Rotana Furniture in Port Richmond are now considering boarding up the store's windows again and even removing some inventory in its showroom after 24th District police put out a warning about potential civil unrest.

"We don't hope it gets chaotic like the last time," one employee said.

Security video from October shows alleged looters walking out with whatever they could take. Police say looters ransacked more than 200 stores in just a few days in October, including Walmart, Target, and many others in Port Richmond.

It happened after, police say, Walter Wallace Jr. was armed with a knife and walked toward police before he was fatally shot by two officers in West Philadelphia.

Now, amid the Chauvin trial in Minnesota, Philadelphia's 24th District police held a meeting with more than 60 businesses last week, along with state Rep. Joe Hohenstein.

"This particular corridor, the Aramingo corridor, that is part of two very distinct neighborhoods racially, will not be a focal point of this type of activity again," Hohenstein said.

Police in the 24th District are implementing a color-coded email alert system to notify businesses of potential unrest.

Green means everything is OK, yellow means a source of concern has been noted, and a red alert means a credible concern has materialized and issues are expected.

Stores are also being urged to hire private security together. But citywide, security plans have not yet been released and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney is keeping tight-lipped.

"Certainly, we're talking and planning and hopefully the case will go the way it should go," Kenney said.

Officials in Port Richmond say there are other measures in place to clamp down on any potential looting, like blocking of exits from I-95 to keep people from making a quick getaway.

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