‘Ground zero’ for fight against police violence in US demands justice
By Alex Segura Lozano
Minneapolis, US, Mar 27 (efe-epa).- The street corner in a southern Minneapolis, Minnesota, neighborhood where George Floyd was killed in May last year has become a symbol of resistance against police violence in the United States, and now its residents are demanding justice for the African American man.
Right across the street from where Floyd was pinned to the ground by a police officer, lives Rodi Paper, a 57-year-old Black man who witnessed the fatal incident from his window.
“This is a poor neighborhood, you know? A lot of crime, drugs and stuff like that we have here. You see what they (did) with his neck?” he asked Efe on Saturday.
Like others in the neighborhood, Paper believes that the trial of the former police officer accused of his death, Derek Chauvin, whose oral arguments begin Monday “will not do any good” because police patrols in Powderhorn Park neighborhood have increased considerably since the death of Floyd and their aggressiveness, he said, remains the same.
Paper claims that he faced a similar situation with the police a few years ago: he was knocked to the ground by an officer, who put his knee on his neck, momentarily preventing him from breathing.
Paper spoke with Efe while smoking a cigarette in front of the door of his building, which now faces the memorial space that the neighborhood created to honor Floyd with flowers, stuffed animals, paintings, posters and the last phrases he recited before die.
In George Floyd Jr. Plaza, renamed in August, the Lachael sisters, along with their mother, grandmother and a couple of aunts, also spoke about the man.
“Everybody should be treated fairly and it was only Black people that are not being treated fairly. If he was a White man, then he would probably get off freely, like the police wouldn’t even bother him,” Raon, 12, told Efe.
“Why they let him die like that? That was really sad. No one should go out like that,” said her sister Zaya, 15.
The outrage of the African-American community in Minneapolis after Floyd’s death unleashed a wave of racial justice protests and riots across the US and around the world in the weeks following his death.
That frustration resulted in the call from the leftmost sectors of the political spectrum to put an end to the police as it is now, opting for a more holistic system, which includes psychologists and social workers, according to Isaac Layden, part of the Yes 4 Minneapolis coalition.
The organization aims to collect 20,000 signatures to bring this and other ideas to the polls in November, when the city’s residents will vote on specific proposals and to elect a mayor, among other issues.
This community group chose Powderhorn Park and the corner of Chicago Avenue and 38th Street, the ground zero of the fight against police violence in the US. EFE-EPA