Crews work again to reopen George Floyd Square to traffic

MINNEAPOLIS — City crews returned early Tuesday to a Minneapolis intersection where a memorial to George Floyd was assembled after his death last year and worked to reopen it to traffic by removing debris and makeshift barriers.

Workers using front-end loaders and brooms arrived just before 5 a.m. and cleared the intersection where Floyd was killed, which is informally known as George Floyd Square, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

Last Thursday, city crews had removed concrete barriers that blocked traffic at 38th Street and Chicago Avenue, but community activists quickly put up makeshift barriers and resumed chanting the name of the Black man whose killing galvanized the racial justice movement.

A fist sculpture, which stands several feet tall, remained at the intersection on Tuesday. The city had said last week it would stay in place. The intersection had been closed to traffic since Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020, but some residents and businesses expressed frustration that it had been closed for so long.

The square sprang up organically in the days after Floyd’s death. As people gathered to express their grief and anger, community members set up makeshift barricades to block traffic, which the city eventually replaced with concrete ones.

Mayor Jacob Frey and other city leaders pledged to reopen the intersection, but activist leaders have said they wouldn’t step aside unless the city met their 24 demands. Among them: recall the county prosecutor, fire the head of the state’s criminal investigative agency, and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on programs to create jobs, combat racism and support affordable housing.

Former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted in April of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for pressing his knee against Floyd’s neck for about 9 1/2 minutes as he pleaded for air.

Chauvin has also been indicted on federal charges alleging he violated Floyd’s civil rights, as well as the civil rights of a 14-year-old he restrained in a 2017 arrest.

The three other former Minneapolis officers involved in Floyd’s arrest and death were also charged with federal civil rights violations. They await trial in state court on aiding and abetting counts.

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Find AP’s full coverage of the death of George Floyd at: https://apnews.com/hub/death-of-george-floyd

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