Mpls. council member says it's time to reopen George Floyd's Square

Minneapolis City Council members discuss defunding police department
Minneapolis City Council nember Andrea Jenkins recites a poem she wrote to a crowd at Powderhorn Park in June. In the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, Jenkins and eight other Minneapolis City Council members declared their commitment to defunding and dismantling the city's Police Department, standing alongside community groups Black Visions and Reclaim The Block.
Liam James Doyle for MPR News file

Updated: 5:54 p.m.

After two people were shot near the intersection where George Floyd died, the Minneapolis council member who represents the area reiterated her position on reopening the area to the public.

Eighth Ward City Council member Andrea Jenkins said while she wants to collaborate with community members for the sake of public safety, it's time for businesses and transportation to return to normal.

"What's happening at that intersection now is not normal. It is a contrived situation that has been created by a group of people, many of whom have no connections to this neighborhood,” she said. "I think it should be open in a collaborative manner that does not require the city to come in and use force to bring that to reality."

Two people were shot near the intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue on Sunday night. Police say they were taken to hospitals and are expected to survive their injuries.

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Protesters have dubbed the area George Floyd’s Square and are policing it themselves. And what started as a memorial is now an occupation.

Mychal Vlatkovich, a spokesperson for Mayor Jacob Frey, said the city should work with the community for a phased reopening of the intersection in a way that prioritizes safety and memorializes Floyd. Vlatkovich said the mayor has worked with council members and department leadership to try to find solutions with organizers.

“Of course, the mayor favors consensus around a shared plan, but he also acknowledges that action must be taken to provide safety and service to residents and surrounding businesses,” Vlatkovich said. 

Jenkins said she plans to hold a community meeting in January to discuss reopening the square.

MPR News reporter Jon Collins contributed to this story.