Just a week ago, the intersection of Chicago Avenue with 38th Street in southern Minneapolis would have had nothing that made it particularly striking or different from millions more in any popular low-income neighborhood in any city in the United States. A grocery store on a corner, a gas station, an Asian restaurant …Today the asphalt is full of flowers, candles and messageswritten in colored chalk and small banners, the walls decorated with murals and painted and a message has been placed on one of the makeshift barricades that close the place to traffic“sacred place”.
Here a week ago, on Monday, May 25, George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man suspected of having used a fake $ 20 bill to buy cigarettes at Cup Foods, was arrested by police. Happened hereeight minutes and 46 seconds lying on the floor, already handcuffed, with a uniformed knee around his neck and accompanied by the passivity of three other agents, while barely the first five minutes, before losing consciousness, he managed to decir “I can’t breathe”, “you’re killing me”or she cried mentioning her mother. And here, thus, an earthquake began that has been shaking the entire country for seven days and, with special intensity, the city.
A week of sharp pain
Terrence Floyd arrived from Brooklyn this Monday with space already secured on the historical map of the US racial struggles.to feel in the memorial the spirit of his older brother.And it was one of the moments of acute public pain that have been experienced throughout the week in Minneapolis, a city that has emerged from the lethargy forced by the coronavirus as the streets have filled with protest, vindication, clamor and tears, and also from episodes ofviolence, destruction and confrontation.
Those protests began Tuesday, when the video of Floyd’s arrest was released, according to data obtained by NBC.one of 237 people since 2015 with whom the Minneapolis police used the neck constricting tactic,one of the 44 cases in which the detainees lost consciousness. Three-fifths were black.
The rage grew in the following days. Although the four police officers involved in Floyd’s arrest were fired, there was a clamor for something more in a city that, for example, protested for weeks over the death of police at the hands of Jamar Clark in 2015, a case where officers involved were not charged, and in 2016 by that of Philando Castile, another case in which the police officer was exonerated.
On Friday he was arrested and charged withreckless murder charges Derek Chauvin, the officer who put his knee on Floyd’s neck and who has already had 16 complaints against him in his history and has participated in three shootings, including one fatal, butthe other three agents are still free.And although Democratic Governor Tim Walz has put state prosecutor Keith Ellison at the forefront of the case, relegating to the county attorney whose slow reaction outraged the community, Walz’s idea that “we must ensure that the trust and that the process works for people “is for now only an aspiration.
Lack of trust in the authorities andfed up were fuel for the protests, which gained rapid intensity. And thousands of protesters were peaceful, but they also startedvandalism, looting and fire episodesprovoked that in a week they have left at least 270 businesses affected, including some debris or ash, both in Minneapolis and in the twin city of St. Paul.
In the citycurfew was imposed since Friday, although yesterday was reduced two hours, and the action of different local police forces,reinforced with reservists of the National Guard,It has become radical and unforgiving over the weekend, slowing down the destruction but at the same time shooting up the tension. “This has been a heavy hand from the same forces that killed George Floyd,” denounced Sunday at a press conference in front of the capitol Michelle Gross, president of the United Communities Against Police Brutality. “You can call this order, but there is no doubt that it is not justice.”
That aggressiveness was confirmed on bruised SundayScott Meyer, a neurosurgeon who was sprayed with pepper spray and beatenWhile participating in one of the peaceful demonstrations in the city, it became chaotic when, in an episode not yet clarified, a tanker entered the bridge of the cut I35 highway over the Mississippi River through which they moved between 5,000 and 6,000 protesters and accelerated (the driver was then pulled out of the truck and beaten until police arrived and detained him, although he has not announced charges). “They were supposed to come to the bridge to help butthey immediately began to brutalize us “, explained Meyer, one of the many whites who have added their voices to the clamor for social justice in the city. “What they are doing is state-sanctioned bullying. And they say they cannot distinguish between ‘good’ and ‘bad’, but if they are incapable of that they should not be police.”
Queen theconfusion about who is inciting the altercationsfrom the side of the protesters. Authorities point to movement componentsanarchists like Antifa, but for many neighbors fear is also the infiltration ofwhite supremacists. They told it on Sunday very close to the altar of Chicago Avenue and 38th Street Alex, some neighbors who have organized on their street to protect their houses. They say they are seeing cars arriving in the neighborhood, sometimes without registration, and are left parked with jerry cans of gasoline or homemade pumps. They fear that they have been left “whiteys” that they can go at night to attack. And they opt for self-defense because, as one of the neighbors, Alex says, “if something happens, the police will not come.”