Sand-coloured Humvees, barbed wire and concrete barricades surround the Hennepin County courthouse where the fate of Derek Chauvin, the white former police officer charged with killing George Floyd, will be determined.
The plaza on which the building sits in downtown Minneapolis looks more like a military base than the heart of the local government, with armed National Guard troops occasionally peering through wire fencing at the protesters that gather outside.
The heavy security presence is to be expected, given the rage that Mr Floyd's death provoked last May, setting the city ablaze with angry protests from a community which has seen police brutality claim the lives of countless black men.
The three-week trial has brought the enduring tensions between law enforcement and the community to the fore, and many of the protesters who gather outside the courthouse each day fear the city is once more on a knife edge as it awaits the verdict.
Among the group of regular demonstrators is John Stewart, a 57-year-old ordained pastor, who braves the elements each day to attach placards calling for police accountability to the fencing surrounding the courthouse.
Dressed in a "Black Lives Matter" hoodie and armed with a megaphone, he has made his voice heard on the plaza most days over the last fortnight. And he plans to return on Monday - when the jury is expected to begin its deliberations.
Mr Stewart believes Mr Chauvin, who faces murder and manslaughter charges after kneeling on Mr Floyd for more than nine minutes, "deserves a life sentence, no questions asked".
But he falls silent when asked about the possibility the former officer may be acquitted. "That's going to be hard", he says eventually.
"It's unpredictable what people would be up to doing, because we all do believe he's guilty," he said.
But above all, he fears a heavy-handed response from law enforcement. He says he already faces regular intimidation by National Guardsmen, who he says keep one hand on their gun as they watch him on the plaza.
"If they're out there to protect and serve, then they shouldn't be out there to take and kill," he said.
In anticipation of potential violence, most of the businesses surrounding the courthouse have boarded up their doors and windows. Armed National Guard troops flank street corners at night.
The tensions between protesters and law enforcement have already spilled into clashes just 10 miles away in Brooklyn Center, where another black man was killed by a white officer just last week.
Hundreds of protesters have gathered for consecutive nights outside the police department's headquarters, furious that officers have not altered their behaviour despite the national spotlight on Mr Chauvin's trial.
Police say Kimberly Potter "accidentally" fired her gun instead of a Taser when she shot dead Daunte Wright, 20, during a traffic stop last Sunday.
Before Mr Wright and Mr Floyd, the Twin Cities region erupted into protests over the deaths of Jamar Clark in 2015, and Philando Castile in 2016.
Maranda, a 23-year-old cashier, braved the rain to join the crowds this week because she felt "nothing's really changed" in the ten months since the horrific footage of Mr Floyd's death led to protests in more than 140 US cities.
Mr Wright was a loose acquaintance of hers, she said, adding what happened to him "could have been any one of us".
As a result, she said she felt some of the recent violence was "necessary". "Obviously they're not listening and this is getting their attention," she said.
The region's long history of police brutality was outlined by policing reform activists during a recent rally outside the Hennepin County courthouse.
"Many of you may have thought what happened with Derek Chauvin lynching George Floyd in broad daylight was an anomaly, but these are the types of incidents and abuses we have been talking about for years," Nekima Levy-Armstrong, from the Minnesota-based Racial Justice Network, told the crowd.
"But we are standing here as a united force, putting our government on notice that we will not tolerate abuse at the hands of law enforcement," she said.
Another large rally is planned for closing arguments in Mr Chauvin's trial on Sunday, with organisers vowing "not to rest" until Mr Chauvin is behind bars.
Minneapolis, and America, is bracing for what comes next.