MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — George Floyd was honored Tuesday with a moment of silence in the city where he died at the hands of police, a death captured on wrenching bystander video that galvanized the racial justice movement and continues to ripple a year later.
Floyd’s sister Bridgett and other family members joined Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, citizens and activists at a downtown park to observe the moment at an event that included music and food trucks.
“It’s been a troubling year, a long year,” Bridgett Floyd told the crowd. “But we made it. They say with God all things are possible and I’m a true believer in that … The love is very outpouring today. The love is here. George is here.”
A moment of silence was also held in New York and a rally was held in Los Angeles to honor Floyd. Globally, a rally took place in Germany and Floyd’s death was marked by U.S. embassies in Greece and Spain.
A family-friendly street festival was also planned at the Minneapolis intersection where Floyd died. That intersection was disrupted by gunfire just hours before the event.
Associated Press video from 38th Street and Chicago Avenue — informally known as George Floyd Square — showed people running for cover as shots rang out. Police said a man, who they believe was injured in the shooting, later went to a nearby hospital with a gunshot wound. Police spokesman John Elder said he was in critical condition but was expected to survive.
Philip Crowther, a reporter working for AP Global Media Services, which provides live video coverage, reported hearing as many as 30 gunshots about a block from the intersection. Crowther said a storefront window appeared to have been broken by gunshots.
“Very quickly things got back to normal,” Crowther said. “People here who spend a significant amount of time, the organizers, were running around asking, ‘Does anyone need a medic?’”
Police said witnesses reported seeing a vehicle speeding away. Elder said no one was in custody by midday Tuesday.
Like other major cities, Minneapolis has been struggling with rising gun violence, a problem made worse, in part, by many officers leaving the embattled force since Floyd’s death. A 6-year-old girl was fatally shot and two other children wounded in recent weeks. Frey last week unveiled sweeping public safety proposals aimed at fixing the problem. Other groups are pursuing a more radical remaking of the police department.
The intersection of 38th and Chicago has been barricaded since soon after Floyd’s death. It quickly turned into a memorial — and also a challenging spot for the city, with police officers not always welcome.
The square was transformed Tuesday into an outdoor festival, with food, children’s activities and a long list of musical performers. The “Rise and Remember George Floyd” celebration, including a candlelight vigil, caps several days of marches, rallies and panel discussions about his death and confronting racial discrimination.
Floyd, 46, who was Black, died May 25, 2020, after then-Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck, pinning him to the ground for about 9 1/2 minutes. Chauvin, who is white, was convicted last month of murder and faces sentencing June 25. Three other fired officers still face trial.
In New York City, elected officials including Mayor Bill de Blasio and U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries joined the Rev. Al Sharpton in kneeling for 9 minutes, 29 seconds. “As we took a knee, imagine how long that was on a human being’s neck,” Sharpton said. “Never switched knees, just dug in. It’s time we correct policing in this country.”
Many Floyd family members were planned to meet with President Joe Biden in Washington, D.C. Biden called family members after the Chauvin verdict and pledged to continue fighting for racial justice.
Floyd family attorney Ben Crump said he hoped Biden would renew his support for policing reform named for George Floyd that would ban chokeholds and no-knock police raids and create a national registry for officers disciplined for serious misconduct.
“Now is time to act,” Crump said Tuesday on CNN. “Not just talk but act.”
Floyd’s brother Philonise, appearing alongside Crump, said he thinks about George “all the time.”
“My sister called me at 12 o’clock last night and said ’This is the day our brother left us,’” he said, adding: “I think things have changed. I think it is moving slowly but we are making progress.”
Bridgett Floyd told the crowd in Minneapolis that Biden broke his promise. “We need that bill passed. We don’t want a watered down bill … My message to the president: Get your people in order … We’re going to continue to fight this good old fight.”
Rapper Nur-D, whose real name is Matt Allen, was among those who took to the Minneapolis streets after Floyd’s death and eventually founded an organization, Justice Frontline Aid, to support safe protest. He described the past year as “like we’ve lived 20 years inside of one” and hoped that people would feel “honesty and a real sense of togetherness” during Tuesday’s celebration.
“If you’re angry, you can be angry. If you’re sad, you can be sad,” Nur-D said. “If you’re feeling some sense of joy over the verdict and some sort of like step in the right direction, and you want to celebrate that, do that as well.”
The event was organized by the George Floyd Global Memorial. Angela Harrelson, an aunt of Floyd’s and a member of the board of directors, said the organization will display some artwork left at George Floyd Square in a pop-up gallery.
Separately, the Floyd family announced the launch of a fund that will make grants to businesses and community organizations in the neighborhood, as well as broader grants “encouraging the success and growth of Black citizens and community harmony.” The money comes from $500,000 earmarked as part of the city’s $27 million civil settlement for the Floyd family earlier this year.