Activists who declared the area in Minneapolis where George Floyd was murdered on May 25, 2020, an autonomous zone have a list of two dozen demands they want met before they leave.
The list includes recalling the county prosecutor and firing the head of the state’s criminal investigative agency — both of which are unlikely.
But activists seem ready to dig in, posting a defiant Twitter thread Wednesday that vowed ”We don’t need the mayor’s permission to make decisions about our city. 38th & Chicago will be held until our demands are met.”
The area now known as George Floyd Square sprang up in the days after Floyd’s death, when community members put up homemade barricades to close it off. The city later replaced them with concrete barriers.
But neighborhood residents and entrepreneurs say the barricaded square led to a spike in crime and decimated businesses. City leaders have said they would reopen it after convicted ex-police officer Derek Chauvin’s trial, but the activists who serve as the square’s unofficial leaders say they won’t move until they get what they demand — including keeping the barricades in place until the August completion of the trials of three other former police officers charged in Floyd’s death.
“The current state of the intersection known as George Floyd Square is contributing to the peace and safety of the surrounding neighborhoods,” a statement posted on Twitter stated. “Amid ongoing threats of White Supremacist violence, in the absence of justice, the barricades and community structures at 38th and Chicago should remain through the trial of all four officers. It’s problematic to misconstrue police brutality as progress toward racial healing.”
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey in February decided he’d reopen the intersection at the conclusion of Chauvin’s trial, arguing the barricades at the square were being used to hide illicit activity, Fox News reported. He insisted the area couldn’t be an autonomous zone, where police were prevented from entering.
Police Chief Medaria Arradondo agreed, saying at the time, “I cannot allow that to happen,” Fox News reported. “Our men and women will continue to show up and respond and be the guardians of that community when they call us for help.”
On March 7 however, a man was shot and killed near the Floyd memorial at East 38th Street and Chicago Avenue. Callers told officers they would bring the victim to the memorial’s perimeter, but officers arrived and learned the wounded person had already been taken to a hospital, where he died.
Soon after that violence, NewsNation correspondent Brian Entin was approached and threatened by two people from the autonomous zone, with one of the people telling him he was going to “be in bad situation in a second.”
“You need to get out of here,” the person told Entin in video posted online. “I don’t give a —– who you are. You’ve been called out for who you are. You need to get in your car and go.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.