US Workers reopen intersection where George Floyd died in Minneapolis despite activists' demands
'A year that's ripped my heart out': George Floyd family struggles with loss a year since killing
Family and friends of George Floyd still miss his laugh, texts and outgoing personality one year since his murder by police in Minneapolis.Each day, she stares into the eyes of Derek Chauvin, trying to decipher why the Minneapolis police officer kneeled on George Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes while he was handcuffed and pleading for help until the life was snuffed out of him.
Work crews on Thursday removed the concrete barricades, artwork and flowers from the street where George Floyd died last year, but activists continue to occupy the square.
City officials have said for months that George Floyd Square should be reopened, but some organizers who have occupied the space since his death believe it should remain closed until the city meets their list ofto achieve justice.
Minneapolis Public Works crews began arriving before sunrise, according toby Marcia Howard, a teacher and caretaker of the square. Howard, who lives just steps away from the square, learned earlier this week that the city was planning to remove the memorial.
Floyd's death laid bare the 'Minnesota Paradox' of racism
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — George Floyd's death under a white Minneapolis police officer's knee severely tarnished Minnesota's reputation as a progressive state on matters of race. Many Black residents say it was never deserved in the first place. The state's seemingly polite exterior, exemplified by the nickname “Minnesota Nice," has long concealed some of the country’s worst racial disparities — especially when it comes to employment, housing and education. As the state on Tuesday marks the one-year anniversary of Floyd’s death, residents are still debating whether anything has changed — or will.
"Injustice closed these streets," Howard wrote. "Only justice should open them."
Workers placed caution tape around the giant sculpture of a raised fist at the center of the intersection of 38th and Chicago, which features murals memorializing Floyd and other people of color killed by police, candles, a community greenhouse and security booths built by activists. It took less than four hours to clear the barriers, artwork, flowers and other items from the street.
Traffic briefly flowed through the intersection, but activists continue to occupy the square and have installedto replace the ones taken down earlier. Dozens gathered near the intersection, singing, chanting and listening to speeches expressing frustration.
George Floyd's family meets with Biden, lawmakers: 'Get this taken care of'
George Floyd's family is traversing across Washington to meet with President Biden and key lawmakers involved in policing reform negotiations a year after Floyd's death. Floyd's family, including his daughter, Gianna, who famously said her "daddy changed the world," met first with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., chief author of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, Tuesday morning ahead of afternoon meetings with bipartisan senators.
The effort to open the square was "community-led" with the help ofa nonprofit that stepped in to provide security in the square, according to Mayor Jacob Frey, City Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins and City Council Member Alondra Cano.
Frey said at aThursday the city worked to preserve the art and keep the fist statue intact as part of a permanent memorial. The mayor vowed to invest directly in Black owned businesses in the square to promote racial justice and healing.
Frey acknowledged that the intersection "will forever be changed," and emphasized that the reopening will occur in phases.
"We recognize there is still pain associated with this street," Frey said. "Full reconnection is not going to happen all at once."
Steve Floyd, one of Agape’s founders who is not related to George Floyd, said Thursday the need to open the square intensified due to violence in the community over the past year.
George Floyd's family meets with Biden and Harris, calls for movement on policing bill
Before exiting the White House grounds, the family and their attorney held their fist in the air as Floyd’s daughter, Gianna, said “say his name.” “George Floyd,” they chanted in unison. Floyd's family also met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., on Capitol Hill. Bass is a lead negotiator on a policing bill aimed at holding law enforcement more accountable, in which she is working with Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Tim Scott, R-S.C., both of whom the family planned to meet with Tuesday afternoon.
Dameon Chambers was fatally shot at the square when many people had gathered to celebrate Juneteenth. Shots were fired during an event commemorating the one year anniversary of Floyd's death last week, leaving one person injured.
Floyd said the barricades were removed early in the morning to avoid confrontations with activists in the square.
"We was going to get pushback," he said. "We expected that."
Video: TIMELINE: From Minneapolis to DC, how the death of George Floyd impacted us one year later (WUSA-TV Washington, D.C.)
Minneapolis police spokesperson John Elder told USA TODAY that the department does not have personnel involved in opening the square.
Boots On The Ground:
The struggle to reopen George Floyd Square:
38th & Chicago/George Floyd Square— Kiya Edwards (@kiyaedwards)
Jay Webb, who helped build the memorial, toldthe removal came as a surprise and that it should be left untouched.
Lawyer: Release of bodycam footage showing deadly arrest of Ronald Greene a 'game changer'; family plans rally
Activists are demanding the arrest of the officers involved in the 2019 death of Ronald Greene. Bodycam video of Greene's death was released Friday."The public now sees why we've been saying something is wrong," Ron Haley told USA TODAY. "They see the inhumanity, the brutality and the reckless indifference of Ronnie's life.
“That they try to come at 5 o’clock in the morning to try and displace us is further proof that they’re trying to marginalize us even more," Webb told the outlet.
Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said during a news conference at the intersection that the removal of the memorial was an attack on Floyd’s legacy.
“This space is a space that has now become a national memorial, a national memorial for victims of police violence all over this world,” Hussein said. “We will not give up this space,” he said. “We will save it for George Floyd.”
The intersection closed to traffic soon after Floyd’s death and quickly turned into a memorial. The square has become an almost sacred space for collective mourning, healing and joy.
Residents celebrated in the street in front of Cup Foods, where Floyd was handcuffed, in April when former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was . Chauvin faces sentencing on June 25. Three other fired officers involved in Floyd's death
On the one-year anniversary of Floyd's death, and candlelight vigil.
The square has become a challenging spot for some city officials, who said the street closure is hurting businesses and making policing the area more difficult.
Minneapolis crews remove barricades at George Floyd Square as city pledges to create a permanent memorial
Minneapolis city workers on Thursday removed parts of a memorial at the intersection where George Floyd took his final breaths, as the city stated its plans to create a permanent memorial while reopening the area to through-traffic. © WCCO Crews begin work to reopen George Floyd Square in Minneapolis on Thursday. On Thursday morning, multiple workers could be seen moving cement barricades in the intersection of Chicago Avenue and 38th Street with tractors and trucks.
City leaders pledged to reopen the square after Chauvin's murder trial.
"People are hurting," Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said during a news conference. "They need that intersection reopened. The best public safety remedy right now is to open up and get that intersection flowing again."
Caretakers of the square vowed to keep the area closed until their demands are met and the trials of the other officers have concluded. The demands include recalling the county prosecutor, firing the head of the state’s criminal investigative agency, and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on programs to create jobs, combat racism and support affordable housing.
City officials said in a statement that they have met on a regular basis with community members to discuss the long-term plan for investing in the neighborhood to "restore and heal the community."
Contributing: The Associated Press
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EXPLAINER: Noor ruling could have impacts for other ex-cops .
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Supreme Court is deciding how to interpret the state's third-degree murder statute in a police killing case that is expected to have repercussions for the four former Minneapolis police officers charged in the death of George Floyd. The state's highest court heard oral arguments Wednesday in the case of Mohamed Noor, a former Minneapolis police officer who fatally shot Justine Ruszczyk Damond. Damond, a dual U.S.-Australian citizen engaged to a Minneapolis man, had called 911 to report a possible sexual assault behind her home. Noor was convicted in 2019 of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.