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City Crews Again Try To Reopen George Floyd Square To Traffic

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) -- City crews attempted again Tuesday morning to reopen George Floyd Square to traffic in south Minneapolis.

Gatekeepers at East 38th Street and Chicago Avenue, the intersection where George Floyd died last May, told WCCO-TV that city crews arrived at about 5 a.m. with front-end loaders and began clearing the objects blocking car traffic in the area.

Activists and community members responded by erecting more makeshift barricades, blocking streets with cars and their bodies. Still, for a time, motorists were able to drive through at least part of the intersection.

George Floyd Square
(credit: CBS)

Last Thursday, city workers initially tried to reopen the intersection, which has been closed to vehicle traffic since last year. Public works crews arrived early in the morning and began removing cement barriers, attempting to also preserve any artwork placed on them.

The crews were accompanied last week by members of The Agape Movement, a group that is paid by the city and meant to act as a bridge between law enforcement and the community.

Members of Agape were not seen during Tuesday's operation.

George Floyd Square has been closed to vehicle traffic since community members erected a memorial to Floyd after his fatal arrest on May 25, 2020. In April, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murdering Floyd for kneeling his neck for nearly 10 minutes, even as Floyd was in handcuffs, pleading for air.

Chauvin in slated to be sentenced later this month. He also faces federal civil rights charges. Three other ex-officers are also charged in Floyd's death; they are awaiting trial in Minnesota for aiding and abetting Chauvin. They also face federal civil rights charges.

Over the last year, George Floyd Square has been a place of protest and community healing. Yet, there are also concerns over an uptick in crime and how the lack of vehicle traffic is affecting area businesses.

So far, there's been no word from the city about Tuesday's operation or its plans to reopen the intersection.

Mayor Jacob Frey and other city leaders have pledged to reopen the intersection, but activist leaders have said they won't step aside unless the city meets their 24 demands.

Among the demands: recall the county prosecutor, fire the head of the state's criminal investigative agency, and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on programs to create jobs, combat racism and support affordable housing.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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