The USA has seen a weekend of unrest as the nation gears up for a decision in the coming hours that could see tensions boil over even further.
Americans are now waiting for a verdict in the trial of the police officer charged with murdering George Floyd last year — a death that sparked a wave sustained of protests around the nation.
Closing arguments are expected in the Derek Chauvin trial on Monday morning US time.
The most serious charge the former Minneapolis officer is facing in Floyd’s death is second-degree murder, but the jury might choose to find him guilty on third-degree murder or manslaughter, or acquit him altogether.
Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill has scheduled closing arguments in the case at 10am Eastern time (12am AEST) followed by instructions to the jury before it begins deliberating on the charges.
The New York Post reports that the jury consists of three black men, a black woman, four white women, two white men and two women who identify as multiracial.
Chauvin, 45, is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Mr Floyd’s police-custody death during his arrest May 25.
Forty-five witnesses were called to the witness stand over nearly three weeks of testimony in Hennepin County District Court — 38 of them brought to the stand by state prosecutors.
The four-member prosecution team, led by Assistant State Attorney General Matthew Frank, focused repeatedly on viral video footage of Floyd’s death, which included Chauvin pressing his knee on the man’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds.
Prosecutors contend that Mr Floyd died of asphyxiation as a result of the restraint, with Chauvin seen keeping his knee on his neck even after paramedics arrived at the intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue and found Floyd had no pulse.
But Chauvin’s lawyer Eric Nelson hinged his case on three assertions: that Mr Floyd died due to drug use and a heart ailment; that an unruly crowd of bystanders posed a threat and distracted the cop and that Chauvin followed his training in using the restraint.
The two sides presented contrasting testimony from medical experts on Mr Floyd’s cause of death.
The city’s medical examiner testified that neck compression killed him, although Mr Floyd had several underlying conditions that contributed to his death.
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said Chauvin violated department policy and training during the fated fatal encounter.
On the final day of trial, Chauvin told the judge he would not testify in his own defence and instead invoke his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.
The trial took place under heavy security and barricades placed outside the courthouse in anticipation of unrest — with officials now on high alert with the verdict looming.
Police in cities throughout the US are also braced for potential protests over the verdict — after a weekend that saw violence break out.
The deaths of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, and 13-year-old Adam Toledo in Chicago continued to spark outrage.
Over the weekend, bottles were thrown at officers in Brooklyn Center. Two people were arrested in Chicago. Multiple fires were set in Portland, where authorities declared a riot. And windows were smashed in Oakland.