A year later: Rallies, moments of silence for George Floyd

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 26, 2021

By Mohamed Ibrahim and Doug Glass

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS — A family-friendly street festival, musical performances and moments of silence were held Tuesday to honor George Floyd and mark the year since he died at the hands of Minneapolis police, a death captured on wrenching bystander video that galvanized the racial justice movement and continues to bring calls for change.

Floyd’s sister Bridgett and other family members held a moment of silence at a “Celebration of Life” event at a downtown Minneapolis park that included music, food trucks, an inflatable bouncy house and a vaccination stand. A few miles away, at the site of the intersection where Floyd died, dozens of people kneeled around a steel fist sculpture for several minutes — symbolizing the 9 minutes, 29 seconds during which Floyd was pinned down.

“It’s been a troubling year, a long year,” Bridgett Floyd told the crowd downtown. “But we made it. … The love is here. George is here.”

Other members of Floyd’s family met in Washington with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, who urged Congress to quickly pass a law in Floyd’s name that would bring changes to policing. A moment of silence to honor Floyd was also held in New York and a rally was held in Los Angeles. Globally, a rally took place in Germany and Floyd’s death was marked by U.S. embassies in Greece and Spain.

Hours before the Minneapolis festivities, the intersection where Floyd died was disrupted by gunfire.

Associated Press video from 38th Street and Chicago Avenue — informally known as George Floyd Square — showed people running for cover as shots rang out. Police said a man, who they believe was injured in the shooting, went to a nearby hospital with a gunshot wound. Police said he was in critical condition but was expected to survive. There were no immediate arrests.

Philip Crowther, a reporter working for AP Global Media Services, which provides live video coverage, reported hearing as many as 30 gunshots about a block from the intersection. Crowther said a storefront window appeared to have been broken by gunshots.

“Very quickly things got back to normal,” Crowther said. “People here who spend a significant amount of time, the organizers, were running around asking, ‘Does anyone need a medic?’”

Like other major cities, Minneapolis has been struggling with rising gun violence, a problem made worse, in part, by many officers leaving the embattled force since Floyd’s death. A 6-year-old girl was fatally shot and two other children wounded in recent weeks. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey last week unveiled sweeping public safety proposals aimed at fixing the problem.  Other groups are pursuing a more radical remaking of the police department.

The intersection of 38th and Chicago has been barricaded since soon after Floyd’s death. It quickly turned into a memorial — and also a challenging spot for the city, with police officers not always welcome.

The square was transformed Tuesday into an outdoor festival, with food, children’s activities and music. At times, people danced in the street.

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