Hundreds gather to mourn George Floyd at growing memorial

Hundreds of people continued to grieve together Thursday at the intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis.

There are now two memorials outside of the Cup Foods where George Floyd died, with flowers, posters and pictures flowing into the street.

Artists have also painted a mural honoring Floyd on the side of the business.

“We’re out here to show our support, to let the community know as artists we’re here to back them up, show that love,” said Cadex Herrera, one of the artists.

The mural depicts Floyd and his name, along with the names of others who have died during encounters with police.

“I hope it brings awareness to atrocities happening,” Herrera said. “Also to remember his name, remember his face. He was a person. I did not know him personally, but he brought light to his community, his family, his friends, and I think that’s important to show.”

Others have painted messages on the street around the intersection. The words “I can’t breathe” are written in a crosswalk.

“I want people to see the intersection behind me and see the love here,” said Angela Conley, the Hennepin County Commissioner for that area. “I also want to stress the point that our county attorney has got to bring charges today, we can’t wait another day, it will only get worse, the investigation is taking way too long.”

Conley said the community is traumatized and grieving.

“Community has multiple different ways of mourning,” she said, reflecting on the violence Wednesday night. “I need people to know that we can’t put rioters and peaceful protestors in the same sentence but I can’t end there — some of the people that are participating in riots are people who are genuinely hurt and we don’t get to police those feelings.”

She lives just five blocks from where Floyd died. Conley planned to spend Thursday afternoon helping the businesses recover, telling us many of them are owned by people of color.

“It hurt to drive down Lake Street this morning. It was painful, and it was painful for a lot of people,” Conley said. “There is a root cause of this, and that root cause is people of color specifically have been disproportionately impacted by police aggression historically, oppression historically, poverty. We’re sick and tired of it.”

Conley also believes that some of the people looting and vandalizing the buildings are taking advantage of the community’s grief.

As the gathering at 38th and Chicago grew on Thursday afternoon, the Rev. Al Sharpton visited the memorial to pay his respects. He was joined by Eric Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr.

“We come to stand with this family and stand with the community because this is a struggle that we’ve had all over this country,” Sharpton said. “And let’s not tell half the story. The reason why you see anger in Minneapolis is because this is not the first time, this is not the first time you ignored the rights of people. Martin Luther King Jr. said that sometimes when you see riots, it’s the unheard speaking. Yes, we are the nonviolent but we understand the outrage and the anger, we all use our anger different ways.”

He is calling for the arrest of all four officers involved, and he wants to see them charged and convicted.

“You do not need anything more than you have now to arrest those four policemen,” Sharpton said.“There is probable cause right now — you have a deceased person, you have a tape showing how he was deceased, you have a tape showing the other three police did nothing to prevent it. They should tell these four police what they tell all of us in the hood: ‘Tell it to the judge.’”

Throughout the afternoon there were prayers, chants of “I can’t breathe” and calls for justice. Some also urged protesters to choose peaceful demonstrations, arguing the violence is counterproductive.

“That’s not hurting the police officers, that’s not hurting the government officials — that’s hurting this community, that’s hurting us,” Montrell Donaldson said. “We built those streets, we paid our money for those places to be open for business.

"We’re going to the 3rd Precinct today, but we aren’t going over there to riot, we’re not going over there for violence. None of that. We’re going over there for the peace to build our community.”