Last year in May of 2020, the death of an unarmed George Floyd by convicted ex-police officer Derek Chauvin caused the closing of an intersection in Minneapolis that became a memorial for the police killing victim. That site had been closed off to regular traffic for over a year now.
According to The Associated Press, the concrete barriers that have been in place since the memorial was set up, were removed Thursday by the city. After the crews took less than four hours to dismantle the barriers, artwork, flowers, and other items from 38th Street and Chicago Avenue, the exact spot where Floyd was killed by Chauvin, community activists quickly put up makeshift barriers in its place.
Mayor Jacob Frey stated that a phased reopening of the intersection was necessary to help with the healing needed to restore area businesses and to also provide social and city services that haven’t been available for a year. Artwork from the memorial will be preserved, and the city wants to ensure the spot where Floyd died “never has tires run over it again.”
“This intersection will forever be changed and we need to be investing in that transformation,” Frey said at a news conference. “This can be a critical location of gathering, not just for our city but the entire world.”
According to the New York Times, a neighborhood resident, Danielle Fabunmi, 48, who lives about six blocks from the intersection, was standing in front of Cup Foods on Thursday as she viewed city workers taking down the memorial. She felt the city had bowed to pressure from businesses and residents worried about crime.
“I kind of always knew that it wasn’t going to last, but I’m pretty hurt because there needs to be a reminder of what happened here,” Ms. Fabunmi said. “They’re really feeling that a lot of these memorials are kind of getting in the way of business, so that’s to be understood, but also, there’s something larger at hand.”