The Potluck

Minneapolis will remove barricades at Floyd memorial in August, neighbors say

By: - August 7, 2020 2:13 pm

The intersection where George Floyd was killed at 38th Street and Chicago Avenue has become a memorial to Floyd. Photo by Max Nesterak/Minnesota Reformer.

The city of Minneapolis intends to remove barricades around the intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue — the site of George Floyd’s death — the week of Aug. 17, a group of neighbors said.

City employees told a handful of community leaders and business owners about the plans Thursday, the residents said. But the residents are prepared to put up a fight: They said they will not “cede these streets” until the city meets a long list of demands and would take the protest to other neighborhoods if they don’t.

One of the people who signed the resolution, Marcia Howard, said after city officials told neighbors about plans to start reopening the intersection, beginning with 38th Street, “We looked at them and said ‘No justice, no peace. You’re not getting this back until you give us a semblance of justice.’”

Neighbors put up barricades at the intersection after they said police cars drove through the Floyd memorial in the middle of the night. On June 2 the city put cement barricades at the entrances to the square to keep pedestrians safe. 

While the community and city representatives have been in talks about removing the barricades, no consensus had been reached when the announcement was made.

And while their list of requests is long, there are 12 barricades, so “you wanna move one, give us a couple” of demands.

The site has become a sacred spot visited by thousands to honor Floyd and support racial justice. 

“The George Floyd Memorial is first and foremost a place of protest, not commissioned by the City but by the people against the City,” residents wrote in a Meet on the Streets resolution.

Before the intersection is reopened, they made a list of demands, including recalling Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman and firing several Bureau of Criminal Apprehension employees; and investing $700,000 in the George Floyd Square zone through neighborhood associations for training and to create new jobs for young people.

They also said the intersection should remain closed until after the trial of four former police officers charged in Floyd’s murder.

“As the city meets our demands for justice, the barricades can be negotiated for removal,” they wrote. “If action is not taken by the City to meet our demands for justice, members of the community that live in the George Floyd Square Zone are prepared to maintain street barricades and take the protest of 38th Street East and Chicago Avenue South into the heart of every significant neighborhood that is unbothered by the death of George Floyd or the spirit of anti-blackness involved in his death and that of many others.”

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Deena Winter
Deena Winter

Deena Winter has covered local and state government in four states over the past three decades, with stints at the Bismarck Tribune in North Dakota, as a correspondent for the Denver Post, city hall reporter in Lincoln, Nebraska, and regional editor for Southwest News in the western Minneapolis suburbs.