Tears and reduction sweep the intersection the place George Floyd died – WISH-TV | Indianapolis Information | Indiana climate
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – It was quiet for just a moment as hundreds of people crowded the intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue to hear the news.
“You announce the verdict!” someone shouted and called for silence.
Then thunderous cheers filled the spot where George Floyd was pinned under the knee of a cop almost a year ago, begging for air and his mother. Many people cried. Some sobbed.
They cheered the discharged officer Derek Chauvin, who was charged with murder and manslaughter, the first guilty verdict. Moments later, another wave of cheers roused the crowd as the other two sentences – both guilty – were pronounced. Moments later, Chauvin put his hands behind his back and was handcuffed out of the courtroom.
There was relief in what is now known as George Floyd Square, a place millions of people around the world saw in videos shot by bystanders during Floyd’s arrest.
Venisha Johnson jumped up for joy upon hearing the verdicts. Minutes later she could barely speak, she was crying so hard.
“It means so much to me,” said Johnson, who wore a mask reminiscent of some of Floyd’s last words, “I can’t breathe.”
“I’ve prayed for George every day, every morning at 6:00 am I’m just so happy. The way he was murdered was horrible, but thank you Jesus, ”she said.
Around 300 people gathered at the intersection where Cup Foods was, the corner shop where employees called the police on the evening of May 25, and said Floyd had cigarettes with a fake $ 20 bill paid. It was Memorial Day.
Since then, thousands have come to plant flowers where Floyd choked the air out of him. Or they stood next to the sculpture that now fills the middle of the street, a huge metal fist raised in a cry for justice. Or they look at the now closed gas station, where the sign saying “Justice for George Floyd” was covered a long time ago.
On Tuesday, a protester climbed the sign to add two more words: “Justice served?”
For those who had gathered on Tuesday, they had at least seen the beginning of justice.
“Let the healing work begin,” said Jennifer Starr Dodd, a Minneapolis woman, tearfully. “Repentance, accountability, respect. You cannot heal without repentance. “
In the early evening the square was the scene of celebrations, prayers and relief in the community. More and more people poured in. Someone was playing a tuba. There were occasional chants of “Say his name! George Floyd! “The parents brought children with them and showed them that at least sometimes a black man could get justice.
Criminal convictions of police officers are extremely rare. Thousands of police officers have been shot dead in the United States since 2005, but fewer than 140 officers have been charged with murder or manslaughter, according to criminologist Phil Stinson. As of Tuesday, only seven were convicted of murder.
Toni Hamilton, who took her daughters to the intersection to hear the verdict, was deeply relieved by the news.
“I feel like we were breathing with half our breath the whole time,” she said. “Now there are opportunities for the future. … There is power when we all come together. “
It remains unclear what will happen to the square, which was organically created in the days after Floyd’s death when parishioners erected homemade barricades to shut it down. The city later replaced them with concrete barriers. It was a place of pilgrimage and picnic, where people paint slogans and portraits on walls and streets, leave flowers, and sometimes just hang out and grill hot dogs.
However, local residents and entrepreneurs from the neighborhood say the barricaded square has led to an increase in crime and decimated businesses. City leaders said they would reopen it after Chauvin’s trial, but the activists who act as the unofficial leaders of the square say they won’t step aside if the city doesn’t meet their long list of demands, including the recall of the district attorney and the dismissal of the head of state criminal police. Neither will likely happen.
Sometime on Tuesday, someone started tossing $ 1 bills in the air to symbolize the alleged fake bill that led to Floyd’s death, and other people quickly followed suit. The money was soon collected in jars to become a donation – though it wasn’t really clear what it was for – and placed next to the flowers that now mark the spot where Floyd stopped breathing.
Eliza Wesley has been on the pitch almost constantly since Floyd’s death. She calls herself the goalkeeper. Before the judgment was pronounced, she led the crowd to prayer.
“I have no doubt about you, God,” she said. “We have been here for 11 months.”
“This is the day the Lord made.”
Associate press writer Kathleen Hennessey contributed to this report.