MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Crews removed concrete barriers as well as artwork, flowers and other memorial items on Thursday from a Minneapolis intersection that has become a sprawling memorial to George Floyd, whose death last year at the hands of police galvanized the racial justice movement.
City crews began the work about 4:30 a.m. at the intersection, which is informally known as George Floyd Square and was where the 46-year-old Black man was pinned to the ground by police.
The intersection at 38th Street and Chicago Avenue has been closed to traffic and became a primary gathering place for those mourning Floyd’s death.
The community group Agape, which contracted with the city to keep watch over the area, worked to coordinate the effort, according to city spokeswoman Sarah McKenzie. A fist sculpture, which stands several feet tall, will remain in the middle of the intersection, McKenzie said.
Some neighborhood residents and others have expressed frustration that the intersection has been closed to private and transit vehicles for nearly a year.
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 Floyd pleaded for air while handcuffed face down on the street.
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 police officers involved in Floyd’s death were also charged with federal civil rights violations. They await trial in state court on aiding and abetting counts.