George Floyd memorial demolished by Minneapolis workers

4 June 2021, 08:46

The area where George Floyd was killed became a memorial to him
The area where George Floyd was killed became a memorial to him. Picture: PA

By Daisy Stephens

City workers in Minneapolis have begun removing memorials and barricades at the intersection where George Floyd was killed by police on May 25 2020.

The corner, known colloquially as George Floyd Square, had become a memorial for Mr Floyd, with people visiting it from all around the world to pay their respects.

It has been closed to traffic for more than a year, and instead was home to artwork, flowers and other items in memory of George Floyd.

The city workers arrived to begin clearing the square at 4.30am on Thursday.

The removal, with the intention of reopening the area to traffic, was not announced in advance.

It attracted hundreds of people to the square in protest, with one activist telling the New York Times that it was “wrong” to remove the memorial “while people are still trying to heal”.

But officials have defended the move, saying that the area had become dangerous due to a lack of police presence.

They also said it was necessary to protect businesses there, something that a spokesperson for Cup Foods, the store at the intersection where Mr Floyd was killed, has supported.

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A city spokesperson said workers were leaving the large raised fist in the centre of the square, and they also said they were preserving any artwork or items they removed from the area.

The large raised first in the centre of the square has been left where it is
The large raised first in the centre of the square has been left where it is. Picture: PA

The Mayor of Minneapolis Jacob Frey has also said that there will be a permeant memorial erected there.

“We are collectively committed to establishing a permanent memorial at the intersection, preserving the artwork, and making the area an enduring space for racial healing,” he said in a joint statement with members of the City Council Andrea Jenkins and Alondra Cano.

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George Floyd was killed on May 25 2020 after an employee at Cup Foods called the police alleging he had used a fake $20 note.

Upon arrival, police handcuffed Mr Floyd and police officer Derek Chauvin then knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes to restrain him.

Chauvin did not stop despite Mr Floyd saying “I can’t breathe”, and bystanders pleading with the officer to get off him.

My Floyd was pronounced dead in hospital.

The following day police said Mr Floyd died following a “medical incident”, but after footage of the incident was shared online the FBI was asked to investigate and Chauvin, along with three others, were sacked.

Chauvin was convicted of all three charges of killing Mr Floyd, and will be sentenced later this month.