A law enforcement non-profit is urging the Minneapolis City Council to assist in putting an end to the so-called “Autonomous Zone” of George Floyd Square, arguing that residents are suffering and that police presence is strained due to preparations for “inevitable rioting.”
Retired Sgt. Betsy Brantner Smith, spokeswoman for the National Police Association (NPA), stated that the autonomous zone has been established for several months, resulting in shanty town-like camps filled with protesters.
The George Floyd memorial is an “autonomous zone” with several blocks controlled by activists. Police don’t even go in. We tried to respectfully get video-but left after two people confronted us near the barricades.— Brian Entin (@BrianEntin) March 10, 2021
Later learned many protestors don’t even feel comfortable there. pic.twitter.com/5w32fxQ0hR
According to FOX News, the camp is located at George Floyd Square, the intersection of E. 38th Street and Chicago Avenue that was renamed following Floyd’s death.
The six-block area has a “no white people” rule, is rife with crime and has created a massive issue for a department which is already short 250 officers.
“George Floyd Square is now an autonomous zone. They just had a homicide there,” Smith said of the area. “There are businesses especially near the Third Precinct -that was allowed to burn down- that get robbed by the same people two to three times a week. There are citizens who just can’t get police services.”
Last Saturday, a 30-year-old man was fatally shot near the location where protesters marched (without incident) ahead of former MPD Officer Derek Chauvin’s trial.
Soon, the internet was awash with a video showing the victim in question, lying on the ground in a pool of blood in front of Cup Foods.
“The police are literally barricaded from going in there,” Smith said. “It’s very frustrating because it’s already a very disadvantaged area to begin with. Then, of course, last May and into the summer, there were the riots that further decimated it, and now you have this area where the police -who are already short-staffed- aren’t allowed to go in.”
The area also includes residential housing.
However, it is unlikely that any real action will be taken.
“You have to look at the make-up of the city council- you have two extremely radical city council members who are continuing to push for abolishing the police department,” Smith said.
Law enforcement agencies and Army National Guard troops are stationed in various areas around the city, in preparation for the Derek Chauvin trial.
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