Cops tear gas protesters who lit FIRES in Minneapolis

Minneapolis police fire tear gas as protests break out over dismantling of George Floyd Square and fatal shooting by cops of black man who pulled gun

  • A fist sculpture, which stands several feet tall and created a traffic roundabout, will remain in the middle of the intersection near where George Floyd was killed 
  • City crews and a community-led group began the work about 4:30am local time 
  • Crews removed concrete barriers as well as art, flowers and memorial items
  • Within four hours, work in the area was complete, though protesters remained 
  • The intersection at 38th Street and Chicago Avenue and four blocks surrounding it have been closed to traffic since Floyd’s murder in May 2020
  • The community group Agape, which contracted with the city to keep watch over the area, worked to coordinate the clearing effort 
  • Further details on future plans for the intersection are set to be revealed at a press conference on Thursday afternoon  

Minneapolis police fired tear gas and clashed with demonstrators as protests broke out in the city after concrete barriers around George Floyd Square were removed and a black man wanted for alleged gun possession was fatally shot on Thursday.

The man was shot by members of a U.S. Marshals task force who were attempting to arrest him on a state arrest warrant, according to a Marshals service statement issued by a Hennepin County Sheriff’s Department spokesman.

Authorities claimed he had produced a gun when he was shot. 

The shooting came on the same day crews in Minneapolis began to dismantle concrete barriers which had been placed around George Floyd Square since he was killed in May 2020.

Community activists quickly put up makeshift barriers and resumed chanting the name of the Black man whose killing galvanized the racial justice movement. 

Further protests were sparked when news of Marshal shootings broke out, and demonstrators were seen setting fires and clashing with cops.

The agencies making up the Marshals task force were not revealed but did not include Minneapolis police, the department whose officers were involved in Floyd’s death, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

‘During the incident, the subject, who was in a parked car, failed to comply and produced a handgun resulting in task force members firing upon the subject,’ the statement said.

Officers attempted to revive the man but he was declared dead by paramedics on the scene. A woman who was in the car with the suspect sustained minor injuries from shattered glass’, the statement said.

The man reportedly been named by friends on social media as 32-year-old Winston Boogie Smith, Jr.,  according to the Twitter account @CrimeWatchMpls.

Minneapolis police used tear gas on protesters who lit fires that burned for more than 40 minutes after city workers began dismantling George Floyd Square

Protesters barricaded off Lake Street and Girard Avenue before starting the fire

Police allegedly failed to respond for more than 40 minutes as the fire raged

A dumpster fire is seen burning at Lake Street and Girard Avenue in Minneaopolis after protesters barricaded the street off

Protesters angry over his death barricaded off Lake Street and Girard Avenue before starting the fire while police allegedly failed to respond for more than 40 minutes as the fire raged, according to independent journalist Rebecca Brannon.  

Brannon shared a video on Twitter in which a woman is heard telling protesters to ‘stop burning s**t.’

‘Stop burning s**t because if you keep burning s**t they’re going to bring in the marshals again. Stop. Y’all organized, right, that’s what you think? Who out here is a Black Panther out here, raise your hand,’ the woman says in the video.

Some cars and motorcycles joined protesters in blocking off the intersection, Brannon reported, later noting that police arrived and started attempting to surround the protesters.

Brannon filmed the moment police began ‘aggressively’ moving in on protesters, shooting tear gas into the intersection to clear them out. She noted that some arrests were made, though details of those arrests were not immediately known.

Firefighters were later filmed extinguishing the fire and cleaning up the intersection. 

The protests and shooting death came on the same day crews in Minneapolis began to dismantle much of George Floyd Square in the early hours Thursday morning, surprising many residents waking up to the news. 

Crews removed concrete barriers as well as artwork, flowers and other memorial items on Thursday from a Minneapolis intersection that has become a sprawling memorial to Floyd, who was murdered at the spot in May 2020. 

A fist sculpture, which stands several feet tall and created a traffic roundabout, will remain in the middle of the intersection. 

Drives could previously cross right over the center of it before that sculpture was erected, but the four blocks surrounding it were closed to traffic in the wake of Floyd’s killing, and its subsequent designation as a memorial site. 

The removal of barriers means traffic can once again begin to flow through the intersection, although for now the fist statue will serve as a makeshift roundabout.   

Construction crews were observed clearing George Floyd Square early on Thursday morning 

City workers and a community-led group were helping to lead the clearing of the square

There were some protesters saying ‘no justice, no peace’ as the square was being cleared

City crews and a community-led group began the work about 4:30am local time at the intersection, which is informally known as George Floyd Square and was where the 46-year-old black man was fatally pinned to the ground by Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin.

KTSP reports that there were dozens of crew members from the city in the area and that the effort to clear the square included Bobcat equipment. 

Within four hours, work in the area was complete, though protesters spent time shouting ‘no justice, no peace’ during some of the dismantling.

The sculpture of the fist is expected to stay at the center of the intersection

When the fist was installed, it created a roundabout at the intersection in the square

The intersection used to consist of perpendicular streets that could be driven straight through

Additionally, two news photographers trying to document what was taking place were met with resistance, with one being threatened with physical harm. 

After the square was cleared, many people remained in the area to observe what had just taken place, although the dismantling passed-off peacefully, with community group members and protesters later seen eating coffee and donuts. 

The garden that was in front of the sculpture will be moved to another location nearby, a community spokesperson said. 

City of Minneapolis workers install a stop sign at the intersection of 38th and Chicago Avenue

City of Minneapolis workers wrap up after installing stop signs on Thursday

MA temporary barricade blocks vehicular access to George Floyd Square on June 3

 City officials remain quiet about what exactly is planned for the square, with a press conference set to be held later on Thursday.

A joint statement was issued by Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, City Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins and City Council Member Alondra Cano, though.

‘The City’s three guiding principles for the reconnection of 38th and Chicago have been community safety, racial healing and economic stability and development for Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian and other communities of color,’ the statement reads.

‘The Agape Movement brought together community leadership to begin facilitating the phased reconnection this morning, with the City playing a supportive role. We are grateful for the partnership.

‘We are collectively committed to establishing a permanent memorial at the intersection, preserving the artwork, and making the area an enduring space for racial healing.’

The statement concludes: ‘Alongside City leadership, we have met on a regular basis with community members to discuss both the short-term path toward reconnecting this area and the long-term plan for the neighborhood with sustained investments to help restore and heal the community.’ 

Agape, a community group contracted by the city, coordinated the effort to clear the square

In the past, Mayor Jacob Frey has called for a ‘phased reopening’ of the square. 

The intersection at 38th Street and Chicago Avenue has been closed to traffic and became a primary gathering place for those mourning Floyd’s death.

The community group Agape, which contracted with the city to keep watch over the area, worked to coordinate the effort, according to city spokeswoman Sarah McKenzie. 

Some of the flowers in the square (pictured) were also being removed from the site

George Floyd Square became a gathering place for those mourning the death of George Floyd

A memorial was frequented at the square near where Floyd was killed by Derek Chauvin

Agape told KTSP that the the barricades were being removed for security purposes, as well as to promote community healing. 

‘There’s a chance and a time for this community to get back to a new normal. That’s what we’re trying to establish,’ Agape Senior Advisor Steve Floyd told FOX 9. 

The area – which some locals tried to declare an autonomous zone – has seen a spike in gun violence in recent months, with shooting victims dragged to ambulances that were unable to get into the square because of the barriers.  

‘The fist sculpture is going to remain in the roundabout,’ McKenzie told the Star Tribune. 

Police spokesman John Elder said that the police are not playing a role in the clearing of George Floyd Square. 

But KARE 11 saw officers gathering in a nearby parking lot by 7:30am local time, in case tensions became too high.

A community leader speaks to residents at George Floyd Square on June 3

Minneapolis municipal workers clear George Floyd Square for traffic on June 3

The George Floyd Memorial is barricaded on June 3, 2021, as the city of Minneapolis orders the square cleared for traffic

Otherwise, Agape was responsible for de-escalating any incidents taking place at the square.

As for the set-up around the sculpture itself, there are set to be ‘bumpouts’ around the sculpture, according to a city official, rather than the concrete barriers once there. 

A more permanent solution regarding the memorial is being discussed between the city, community members, and Floyd’s family. 

A community leader speaks to residents at George Floyd Square on June 3

The memorial and square did create traffic problems at the intersection, though

Cars and buses were not able to drive through East 38th Street and Chicago Avenue

Some neighborhood residents and others have expressed frustration that the intersection has been closed to private and transit vehicles for nearly a year.

A bus route that went through the intersection has been unusable for a year, though service may be restored soon after the square is cleared. 

That’s set to change soon, with Minneapolis Public Works employees spotted adding signage around the fist sculpture to signify the new roundabout.

Additionally, barriers are being added near Cup Foods for those intending to visit. 

It’s not clear if the mayor or city council were aware of the fact that the clearing was going to take place at dawn on Thursday.

The city attorney for Minneapolis previously said that the city council and mayor would likely need to be the ones to approve of reopening the intersection. has reached out to the mayor’s office for comment. 

Agape Movement adviser Steve Floyd is among those who support the memorial being scaled back, and told The New York Times: ‘We can focus on other things. We got to keep moving.’

A spokesman for Cup Foods – the nearby convenience store where Floyd was arrested after paying with a fake $20 bill – also backed the changes.

Jamar Nelson said: ‘Businesses can once again thrive. Now hopefully a memorial can be put in place, to respect the Floyd family and the community.’

And City of Minneapolis spokesman Sarah McKenzie said many other locals supported the move. She explained: ‘We certainly acknowledge this intersection will never return to normal, but we’ve heard from residents and businesses that really need to reconnect their neighborhood.’ 

On Twitter, many raged at the dismantling of the square – with some even claiming it was ‘violence.’     

Local residents gather at George Floyd Square as it is cleared on June 3 

A traffic sign signals directions around the monument at George Floyd Square

Workers are seen clearing out George Floyd Square in Minneapolis on Thursday

Minneapolis municipal workers clear George Floyd Square for traffic on June 3

George Floyd Square was the site of a shooting on the anniversary of Floyd’s death last month.

Multiple gunshots were fired in an alleged fight over parking near the George Floyd Square in Minneapolis as people marked the first anniversary of his death.  

Associated Press Journalist Philip Crowther was shooting live video near the square when shots were heard about a block east of the intersection where he was posted. Crowther said a storefront window appeared to have been broken by a gunshot.

One Twitter user captured construction crews dismantling the square in the early morning

His video from the scene showed people running to seek cover as at least 30 shots rang out. The shooting came just hours before the square is to be the site of what’s billed as a family-friendly street festival marking the anniversary of Floyd’s death at the hands of police. 

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted in April of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for pressing his knee against Floyd’s neck for about 9 1/2 minutes as Floyd pleaded for air while handcuffed face down on the street.

Minneapolis municipal workers clear George Floyd Square for traffic on June 3

Minneapolis spokesperson Sarah McKenzie said crews, along with a community group, are taking great care to preserve artwork and artifacts

George Floyd was murdered at the intersection on May 25 2020 after trying to buy cigarettes at Cup Foods convenience store with a fake $20 bill  

Floyd was killed during an arrest in May 2020 by Derek Chauvin. The former Minneapolis police officer was guilty of second and third-degree murder and manslaughter after video captured the arrest, which the jury concluded led to Floyd’s death

Chauvin has also been indicted on federal charges alleging he violated Floyd’s civil rights, as well as the civil rights of a 14-year-old he restrained in a 2017 arrest.

The three other former Minneapolis police officers involved in Floyd’s death were also charged with federal civil rights violations. They await trial in state court on aiding and abetting counts.

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