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George Floyd Anniversary Live Updates: Gunshots, Panic in Minneapolis

George Floyd Square in Minneapolis on Tuesday, the first anniversary of Mr. Floyd’s death.
George Floyd Square in Minneapolis on Tuesday, the first anniversary of Mr. Floyd’s death.Credit…Caroline Yang for The New York Times

MINNEAPOLIS — People came to pay their respects to George Floyd on Tuesday at the site of where he was killed last year, placing flowers, some bowing their heads in reverence and others making the sign of the cross.

Vernon Rowland, a father of two who lives two blocks from George Floyd Square, came at about 9:30 a.m. to pay his respects.

“Folks have talked about this place being holy ground and the suffering he experienced,” Mr. Rowland, 43, said. “I see it as holy when you go and see the outline of his body.”

Reflecting on what Mr. Floyd’s death has meant, he said, “For the first time I feel like folks in power are realizing something is wrong.”

“This was the first time the world stopped and noticed and recognized this was murder,” he added. “The response from white people has been a new experience — that is incredibly encouraging. Have we gone far enough? No.”

Dennis Jackson, 44, flew in on a red-eye from Los Angeles and came straight to the square. He was upset about what appeared to be gunshots in the area, but said it was an uncomfortable reminder that not much progress has been made since Mr. Floyd’s death regarding keeping Black communities safe.

“I don’t feel like there is a whole lot of progress,” Mr. Jackson, a landscaper, said. “But it has brought solidarity to our community. People want systemic change.”

He said that he had hoped that by now, a year after Mr. Floyd’s death, there would have been legislation nationwide banning the police from using knees to pin suspects and police budgets would have been reallocated to mental health services and other critical needs.

“There is a lot to do and that won’t change overnight because it wasn’t created overnight,” he said.

Portraits of civil rights leaders decorated George Floyd Square in Minneapolis on Tuesday, and flowers lay next to a headstone for Mr. Floyd at the “Say Their Names Cemetery,” a memorial created last June. In New York City, a small group of Black Lives Matter protesters blocked an entrance to the Holland Tunnel before being removed by police officers. And in Houston, where Mr. Floyd had lived, and Washington, D.C., artwork honored him.

Philonise Floyd,a brother of George Floyd, at a news conference in April.
Philonise Floyd,a brother of George Floyd, at a news conference in April.Credit…John Minchillo/Associated Press

The family of George Floyd, along with their attorneys, announced on Tuesday the creation of a fund named after Mr. Floyd to support the community in the predominantly Black Minneapolis neighborhood where he was killed.

The George Floyd Community Benevolence Fund will be made from the family’s legal settlement with the city of Minneapolis, which in March reached an agreement to pay $27 million to Mr. Floyd’s family.

The family will direct $500,000 of the settlement toward the fund, which will award grants to eligible businesses, community organizations, and charitable organizations to benefit the community at 38th & Chicago in Minneapolis, the statement from the family’s legal team said.

Mr. Floyd’s family “has been touched by the strength, the spirit, and the need in that community,” the statement said.

The money may also go toward groups “encouraging the success and growth of Black citizens and community harmony,” the statement said. The fund’s mission is to lift up residents, businesses and others who have felt the detrimental impact of systemic racism, the legal team said.

“The George Floyd Community Benevolence Fund will be an instrumental, long-term partner to the Black-owned businesses in the neighborhood where he died, where we all have seen the continued negative impact of systemic racism,” said Ben Crump, the civil rights lawyer who is among those representing Mr. Floyd’s family.

The fund’s board includes four of Mr. Floyd’s family members, and members of their legal team. Applications will not be accepted until the fall of 2021, and grants will be funded at $5,000, $10,000 and $25,000.

“George’s legacy is his spirit of optimism that things can get better, and our family wants to bring that hope to the community where he died, so that together we can make things better for the Black community in Minneapolis and beyond,” said Terrence Floyd, a brother of George Floyd.

Philonise Floyd, another one of Mr. Floyd’s brothers, reflected on the first anniversary of his brother’s death in an interview with CNN on Tuesday.

“I think about my brother all the time,” he said. “My sister called me at 12 o’clock last night. She said: This is the day that our brother has left the earth.”

MINNEAPOLIS — Dozens of activists and bystanders paying their respects at George Floyd Square in Minneapolis ran from the area on Tuesday after a series of loud bangs rang out, raising fears that shots were being fired.

The mood all morning had been somber and reflective with people laying flowers, some bowing their heads in front of an outline of where Mr. Floyd was killed and a man making the sign of the cross.

That quiet broke at about 10:10 a.m. with a series of loud noises that sounded like at least 10 gunshots. One girl screamed for her mother as she ran into a corner behind portable toilets. Organizers yelled for children to run to one side.

About five minutes later, organizers returned to the square to attend to people who appeared panicked and scared. The police later released a statement:

On Tuesday morning at 10:09 a.m., the Minneapolis police department responded to the 3800 block of Elliott Avenue south on a report of the sound of shots fired.

Information received from callers was that a suspect vehicle was last seen leaving the area at a high rate of speed.

A short period of time later, an individual showed up at Abbott Northwestern Hospital suffering from a gunshot wound. The victim has been transported to Hennepin County Medical Center for treatment. It is believed that the injury is non-life-threatening.

Slowly, activists and bystanders returned to the square, but in a smaller number than before.

The square has not been without controversy. Streets are closed off and manned by activists limiting which cars can enter. And there has been a spate of shootings at night, as the police have limited their patrolling of the area.

Protesters march with members from the organization, Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence in St. Paul, Minn., last night. Marches and gatherings are planned throughout the day.
Protesters march with members from the organization, Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence in St. Paul, Minn., last night. Marches and gatherings are planned throughout the day.Credit…Caroline Yang for The New York Times

As people across the country mourn George Floyd on the first anniversary of his killing, marches, memorials and prayer gatherings are planned from morning to evening, stretching from Portland to Louisville to New York.

The N.A.A.C.P. held a virtual moment of silence at 9:29 a.m., an echo of the 9 minutes and 29 seconds of time that Derek Chauvin held his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck.

In Los Angeles, the city’s Black Lives Matter chapter has organized a march that will begin at City Hall and feature the singer-songwriter Aloe Blacc. “We need transformative justice in honor of Brother George and every life stolen by the police,” the chapter tweeted.

In Philadelphia, officials said a citywide prayer will be held at 9:25 p.m., to mark the time of Mr. Floyd’s death. A dozen local buildings will be illuminated in “city gold” in honor of Mr. Floyd, including the Philadelphia International Airport and the Lincoln Financial field, home of the Philadelphia Eagles.

“This week, I urge all Philadelphians to reflect on the tremendous legacy he leaves behind and on how we can continue to work together to enact police reform and dismantle institutional racism,” Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement.

In Chicago, several events were planned for Tuesday afternoon. A group called the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression is set to host a rally downtown that is focused on getting a police reform bill, known as the People’s Ordinance, passed by the city.

At 4:30 p.m., a vigil for Mr. Floyd will be held at the People’s Church of Chicago and shortly after a rally is scheduled to take place in Federal Plaza in Downtown Chicago, along with numerous online vigils.

And in Atlanta, the Georgia N.A.A.C.P. said that Mr. Floyd’s 7-year-old daughter, Gianna Floyd, will be present at the “My Daddy Changed the World” rally for her father, at 6 p.m.

In Dallas, Seattle, Birmingham and other cities, similar vigils were also planned to remember Mr. Floyd.

Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti in Washington in May. Mr. Garcetti agreed to cut $150 million from the police budget.
Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti in Washington in May. Mr. Garcetti agreed to cut $150 million from the police budget.Credit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

One year ago, George Floyd was murdered by a police officer in Minneapolis, and the streets filled with people calling not for reform but to “defund” police budgets and steer money toward social services.

In Los Angeles, leaders and voters seemed to embrace the spirit of the movement.

Mayor Eric M. Garcetti agreed to cut $150 million from the police budget, while voters elected a new district attorney, George Gascón, who promised to prosecute cops and send fewer people to prison. As recently as December, the city, facing a budget crunch as well as the racial justice movement, was considering laying off almost a thousand police officers, according to The Los Angeles Times.

Now, as the nation observes the anniversary of Mr. Floyd’s murder, it is a much different story.

Los Angeles, like many big cities, is awash in new guns and continuing violence. Last year, there were 305 homicides, up 36 percent from the prior year, and the highest level in more than a decade.

“The number of guns that are out there is just astonishing,” Chief Michel Moore of the L.A.P.D. said in an interview.

And instead of cutting the police budget, the City Council recently approved an increase, and the department is about to start hiring more officers.

“If you want to abolish the police, you’re talking to the wrong mayor,” Mr. Garcetti recently said in his State of the City address.

To contain the surge in gun violence, the L.A.P.D. is leaning on some of its old habits, having recently deployed an elite unit to South L.A. to stop vehicles for traffic violations in the search of guns and men with warrants. It’s a tactic the department sharply curtailed in recent years after a Los Angeles Times investigation revealed sharp racial inequities in the practice.

A small group of Black Lives Matter demonstrators in Manhattan blocked traffic through the Holland Tunnel on the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s death.
A small group of Black Lives Matter demonstrators in Manhattan blocked traffic through the Holland Tunnel on the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s death.Credit…Stephanie Keith for The New York Times

A small group of demonstrators marched through downtown New York City streets on Tuesday morning, stopping traffic near the Holland Tunnel before some were taken into custody by police officers, in the first of many protests expected to commemorate the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis a year ago.

The group decried police misconduct and brutality, called for further investment in Black communities, and said that the push for change spurred by Mr. Floyd’s killing needed to continue.

“We’re not satisfied, we’re not happy until the whole system is changed — until the corruption, the racism around this country, that’s in the New York City Police Department, is gone. That’s when we’re satisfied,” said the Rev. Kevin McCall, an organizer.

For at least 15 minutes, the group, which included the mayoral candidate Shaun Donovan, blocked the entrance to the Holland Tunnel, a main artery that carries commuters from New Jersey. At one point, the demonstrators knelt for 9 minutes and 29 seconds — the amount of time that Derek Chauvin, the former police officer convicted of murder in Mr. Floyd’s death, knelt on his neck.

The police played recorded messages asking them to clear the road. When they did not, officers handcuffed demonstrators with zip ties and escorted them to a police van. At all times, the group was significantly outnumbered by a large police presence. Officers, some of whom had riot shields and helmets ready, flanked protesters on either side or lined the streets and blocked traffic as the group passed.

Protests against police brutality sprang up across New York City in the days following Mr. Floyd’s killing on Memorial Day last year. As they grew in size and spread across the city in the following days, tension grew between demonstrators and police officers.

The thousands of demonstrators who participated in protests were largely peaceful, though there was looting in some neighborhoods, and skirmishes broke out between participants and the police. In one video that spread across social media, two police cars appeared to drive through a crowd in Brooklyn.

The unrest led Mayor Bill de Blasio to impose a citywide curfew for the first time since World War II. He also defended the police’s response to protests at the time; a city oversight agency has since released a report finding that the Police Department badly mishandled the protests.

George Floyd Square in Minneapolis on Monday.
George Floyd Square in Minneapolis on Monday.Credit…Caroline Yang for The New York Times

Keshia Richmond and her husband visited Minneapolis for a Twins game on Monday. Before she headed home to Iowa, the 37-year-old made sure she visited the spot that has become known as George Floyd Square.

She walked carefully through the intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue, in front of the Cup Foods store where Mr. Floyd was murdered a year ago by a police officer. She paused at the flowers and art placed in front of the shop and at the makeshift roundabout with a raised fist sculpture holding a Pan-African flag.

“I am going to show my boys these pictures,” said Ms. Richmond, a mother of three. “We all saw the world change last year. This has started to open people’s minds,” but there is more work to be done, she said.

The streets surrounding the store remain closed off, with barriers and gates manned by local activists. On Tuesday morning, small groups of runners and neighborhood residents walked by as Minneapolis prepared to hold vigils and ceremonies honoring Mr. Floyd. Most businesses in the area of the square remained closed. A community garden, art installations and graffiti have taken their place.

Andrea Steele, 43, paused at the square after her morning run. The mental health therapist lives nearby and said she needed to come today. Her clients live in perpetual fear of the police, and it needs to change, she said.

“It was important that they kept this square,” she said. “It was a way for Minneapolis not to forget.”

She agrees with many Black Lives Matter activists that money needs to be reallocated from the police to fund services that better serve the community. But there is no political will for defunding the police, she said.

“We need to make our community safer,” she said, “but I don’t think defunding the police is a solution.”

Protesters in Minneapolis last June. While 60 percent of Black people in a recent poll said that racism was an “extremely” serious problem in America, just 23 percent of white respondents agreed.
Protesters in Minneapolis last June. While 60 percent of Black people in a recent poll said that racism was an “extremely” serious problem in America, just 23 percent of white respondents agreed.Credit…Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

One year after George Floyd was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis, Americans are more likely to believe that police violence is a serious problem than they were before he died.

But many do not believe that the murder conviction of the former officer, who is white, has led to serious change, and most Black Americans said the conviction did not improve their trust in the criminal justice system, according to a recent poll from The Associated Press.

The poll, which was completed in collaboration with the NORC at the University of Chicago, also revealed that a minority of Americans support reducing the funding of police departments, and that most Black Americans support President Biden’s handling of race relations and policing. Here are some key findings:

  • Black and white Americans often have radically different views of racism, policing and discrimination. While 60 percent of Black people said that racism was an “extremely” serious problem in America, just 23 percent of white respondents agreed. Black Americans were also far more likely to report discrimination because of their race in policing as well as in the workplace, in health care and in housing. Of the Black respondents, 60 percent said they were often or sometimes discriminated against by police officers. Seven percent of white people gave the same response.

  • More than 70 percent of Black people said police officers who cause injury or death were treated too leniently by the courts. For white respondents, that number jumped from 32 percent in 2015 to 62 percent in June 2020, one month after Mr. Floyd’s death. In the year since, that viewpoint has since waned among white Americans, to 45 percent.

  • Most Americans, regardless of race, support various police reform efforts, including mandatory wearing of body cameras and requiring officers to report misconduct by their peers. On the reduction of funding though, support decreased to 35 percent among Black Americans and 16 percent among white Americans. Support for a “complete overhaul” of the criminal justice system faded among Black Americans over the past year, from 57 percent to 48 percent.

People gathered at a memorial in Minneapolis days after George Floyd was killed by the police last May.
People gathered at a memorial in Minneapolis days after George Floyd was killed by the police last May.Credit…Alyssa Schukar for The New York Times

MINNEAPOLIS — One year ago today, the Minneapolis Police Department issued a short, incomplete statement headlined “Man Dies After Medical Incident During Police Interaction.”

The world would soon learn the details after a bystander’s cellphone video went viral. It showed George Floyd, a Black man, struggling to breathe on a street corner while under the knee of a white police officer for more than nine minutes. Last month, a jury decided that it was murder.

Over the past year, America changed — but it is too soon to say how much. Millions of people, in the middle of a pandemic, flooded the streets of big cities and small towns, demanding that the country face up to its long history of racism and police brutality.

State legislatures and city councils approved police reforms, and in some cases took money away from police departments after calls to “defund the police.” National legislation, however, remains stalled; the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act has passed the House, mostly along party lines, but not the Senate.

To mark the first anniversary of Mr. Floyd’s death, President Biden will host the Floyd family at the White House. Before they traveled to Washington, many family members returned to Minneapolis over the weekend.

“It has been a long year. It has been a painful year.” Bridgett Floyd told a crowd on Sunday evening outside the courthouse where Derek Chauvin was recently convicted of murdering her brother.

The anniversary is shaping up not just as a remembrance of Mr. Floyd’s life and legacy, but also as a time to give voice to the many families who have lost loved ones to police violence. As Americans gather throughout the country — in Washington, D.C., in Chicago, in Seattle — their eyes will be turned to Minneapolis.

Beginning at 11 a.m., the Commons, a downtown park, will host an event that will honor Mr. Floyd “through Black culture, art, history and support of local businesses,” according to the George Floyd Memorial Foundation. Throughout the day, people will come together at George Floyd Square, the several blocks around Cup Foods, near where Mr. Floyd was killed. At 8 p.m. there will be a vigil at Mitchell Hamline School of Law in St. Paul.

The Floyd family was joined in recent days by the relatives of other Black men and boys whose deaths caused outrage — the mother of Eric Garner, the mother of Trayvon Martin, the mother of Oscar Grant, a cousin of Emmett Till. Their presence has helped place Mr. Floyd’s death into the broader context of America’s struggle for equality.

As Deborah Watts, the cousin of Mr. Till, who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955, told the crowd here on Sunday: “The past is not past until justice is served.”

George Floyd's sister, Bridgett Floyd, addressed a rally in downtown Minneapolis on Sunday. President Biden plans to meet several of Mr. Floyd’s family members at the White House on Tuesday.
George Floyd’s sister, Bridgett Floyd, addressed a rally in downtown Minneapolis on Sunday. President Biden plans to meet several of Mr. Floyd’s family members at the White House on Tuesday.Credit…Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune, via Associated Press

President Biden will meet on Tuesday with relatives of George Floyd to mark the anniversary of his death and the start of a nationwide racial reckoning against police brutality.

The meeting at the White House will be private, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during a news conference on Monday. Several members of the family, with whom Ms. Psaki said Mr. Biden had developed relationships, will attend, including several siblings, and his daughter, Gianna.

A video of the killing of Mr. Floyd in Minneapolis — which showed an officer kneeling on his neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds — sparked the largest racial justice protests in generations and brought a sense of urgency to negotiations over police reform in Congress . The officer at the center of Mr. Floyd’s killing, Derek Chauvin, was convicted last month of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.

But police reform legislation, known as the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, has languished in Congress, as parties spar over a measure that would alter a legal shield known as qualified immunity that protects police officers in brutality cases. The White House had set its own deadline for Congress to pass the legislation, which Ms. Psaki acknowledged on Monday will not be met.

During his address before a joint session of Congress last month, Mr. Biden, invoking a conversation he had with Mr. Floyd’s young daughter, called on lawmakers to pass legislation by the first anniversary of Mr. Floyd’s death.

When asked during the news conference on Monday about progress on police reform, Ms. Psaki indicated that the White House remained relatively optimistic. Mr. Biden spoke on Friday with Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey and an outspoken proponent of police reform, she said, adding that Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, the Republicans’ lead negotiator on the issue, also expressed interest in continued talks.

“The president is still very much hopeful that he will be able to sign the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act into law,” she said.

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