George Floyd Square — home of a makeshift memorial to the man — has reportedly recently transformed.
NewsNation relays the area originally meant to remember the Minnesota resident who passed away while in police custody has now become a Seattle-style autonomous zone.
The acreage is currently blocked off, and NewsNation notes city leaders plan to remove the concrete barricade once former Officer Derek Chauvin’s trial has ended.
But self-appointed rulers have claimed the territory and issued 24 demands. Until those or met, the idea goes, they won’t be stepping aside.
From the outlet:
The memorial, now called an autonomous zone, was set up by protesters and supporters at the now-vacant Speedway station. It’s very tense near the memorial and a militant-style group has closed off several blocks with barricades. They don’t allow the police inside.
One city resident — Kim Griffin — described a tenuous situation:
“The situation at the memorial, from what I understand, is its kind of volatile. People that want to go and support doesn’t feel a sense of inclusion. There is more of a like militant-type atmosphere…and a sense of fear.”
The autonomous group isn’t letting in law enforcement, which posed a particular problem when Kim’s nephew was shot and killed at the memorial last weekend:
“Police were not allowed to get into that area; he was carried out outside of the zone of George Floyd Square. It was made clear [police were] not welcome to penetrate that zone, which is an atrocity because his life was taken, and I mean who knows whether or not he would have survived had things been different.”
Furthermore, City Council member Andrea Jenkins said that constituents have complained about the sound of gunfire and police helicopters.
“The neighbors deserve to have a level of comfort that does not include gunshots every night, and muggings and carjackings, and all the violent crimes we have been witnessing in this community.”
For quite some time now, the Mini-Apple’s appeared rotten to the core with violence.
Back in September, MPR News noted a substantial spike:
The number of reported violent crimes, like assaults, robberies and homicides are up compared to 2019, according to MPD crime data. More people have been killed in the city in the first nine months of 2020 than were slain in all of last year. Property crimes, like burglaries and auto thefts, are also up. Incidents of arson have increased 55 percent over the total at this point in 2019.
Speaking with local news station WCCO at the time, resident Lisa Cruz sent out a desperate plea to taxpayer-funded officials:
“Come here. Meet with us. Face us. Stay here for a weekend. For the love of God, just come here and say something to us — the people that are freaking voting for you and depend on you to take care of us! Where are you? Show your face to us. Do something. Don’t just sit there and let your city go down to the ruins! Do something for us!”
And in October, a group of residents filed a lawsuit against the city over a shortage of cops.
"We are the plan," says #Mpls community activist Cathy Spann. She & several other residents have filed a lawsuit, claiming city is not meeting its legal obligation to fund a minimal level of policing. Lawsuit arguments just wrapped up. Judge did not issue a ruling today. @FOX9 pic.twitter.com/3LcTQ3BqAb
— Paul Blume (@PaulBlume_FOX9) October 19, 2020
As far back as July, things were so severe that the council — which unanimously voted to defund the police — had to hire personal security.
Minneapolis Council members get private security after threats https://t.co/ZfCLUcLjvF
— FOX 9 (@FOX9) June 27, 2020
Councilmember Andrea explained that the concern was due to a “large number of white nationalist(s) in our city and other threatening communications.”
In June, the city suffered three times the number of shootings as the same month a year before, and July saw over 50 incidents of gun violence.
Will Prince’s favorite town ever get a handle on its violence?
Prince, 1975 Minneapolis pic.twitter.com/MC5KQiGv47
— LyleMillar (@LyleMillar) March 6, 2021
In February, Mayor Jacob Frey and Police Chief Medaria Arradondo refuted the notion of the square having become an autonomous zone.
However, NewsNation cites evidence to the contrary:
A flashpoint of that argument was the fatal shooting of Dameon Chambers at the square when many people had gathered to celebrate the Juneteenth holiday.
A city document says emergency services workers were unable to get to Chambers and that police “ultimately had to pull Mr. Chambers to an area where the ambulance could access the area.” The Floyd Square caretakers say it was police who delayed emergency workers, and their demands include an investigation of his death.
Since the city asserted it would reopen the square after Chauvin’s trial, the caretakers of the space have declined to talk in detail about negotiations to reopen it. Jeanelle Austin, a racial justice leadership coach and a lead caretaker of the memorial area, said the demands that fall within the city’s control aren’t unreasonable.
Among the crew’s list:
- Fire the head of Minneapolis’s criminal investigative agency
- Keep the square closed until the end of all three officers’ trials
- Recall the county prosecutor
- Allocate hundreds of thousands of dollars to support affordable housing, create jobs, and combat racism
On Tuesday, a NewsNation journalist trying to report on the situation at the square was threatened:
“You’re going to be in a bad situation in a second,” a man accompanied by a woman told Brian Entin outside the zone.
“You’re being called out for what you are, and you need to get out of here. You need to get in your car and go.”
Brian Entin told the black-clothed, masked duo he was “just media.”
The man replied, “I’d don’t give a f— who you are. … You need to get in your car and go.”
The George Floyd memorial is an "autonomous zone" with several blocks controlled by activists. Police don't even go in. We tried to respectfully get video-but left after two people confronted us near the barricades.
Later learned many protestors don't even feel comfortable there. pic.twitter.com/5w32fxQ0hR
— Brian Entin (@BrianEntin) March 10, 2021
It’s hard to say how things are going to fare during accused murderer Derek Chauvin’s trial, but if the city won’t even deal with the zone, it seems unlikely it’ll capably handle the coming chaos.
But I guess we’ll find out.
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