What a time it has been in Minneapolis. Just over a week ago, George Floyd was killed by a police officer kneeling on his neck. The emotions have run the gamut here and across the country. New rules have been enacted, some temporary and some hopefully permanent. Peaceful protesters from all races and walks of life continue on the vigil with lots to say, pray and heal.
The first reaction was shock from seeing the video of the police officer’s action. Then justified protests began as this unfortunately was not the first police murder. Next anger grew into violent protests as the 3rd Precinct was torched. Curfews began at 8 pm and highways into Minneapolis and St. Paul were closed overnight. Neighborhoods circulated ways to stay safe against fires and looters. Several nights were very scary here. But the MN National Guard quelled the out of town agitators and the streets returned to peaceful protests.
The city council also took immediate action and passed several changes to policing rules. No more chokeholds or neck restraints! Fellow officers must stop and report abusive actions of any officer. Several other changes were approved. Many of these rules were not new but were made easier to enforce. Let’s hope they are approved and followed in the future.
A civil lawsuit was filed against the Police Dept and the largest 2 unions in Minnesota called for the resignation of the Police Union President. These are all extraordinary actions that have taken place in less than 10 days. The hope is that the unfortunate death of George Floyd has been a catalyst for reforms.
I went to the 38th and Chicago corner where George Floyd died. You have probably seen it on TV. This is where the George Floyd mural was painted in a few days, many flowers, chalk messages (many names of those murdered by police), candles, etc. The area has been blocked for 2 blocks in all directions. There were quite a few people on the day I was there but most were spacing and wearing masks as we still have a pandemic happening. Food was being distributed like groceries to take home for neighbors and food being grilled to eat there. Music, chants, dancing was going on. You would think it would seem like a festival but the mood was positive yet solemn. I have never been in a crowd like this.
I have been away from my bench for awhile as I am taking this all in. I will return soon to see what inspiration will come. What is happening in your town? Peace to all!