MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Emotions were strong Wednesday at the memorial that has sprung up at the location where George Floyd died in south Minneapolis.
The memorial at East 38th Street and Chicago Avenue is drawing people in from all over and from all walks of life. With Wednesday’s news that Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison has charged three of the officers involved in Floyd’s deadly arrest, as well as upgraded charges to the officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes, many of those visitors feel like they’re a step closer to justice.
For all nine days, brothers James and Butch Austin have been coming to the site where Floyd took his last breath.
“This is the most white folks I’ve seen on this corner in my lifetime, and it’s just surreal to me,” James Austin said. “It’s really cool. I’m really, you know, excited to see like the community coming together.”
The brothers grew up a couple blocks away. While they were hoping for charges against the other officers to come earlier, Wednesday’s news makes them feel like justice is possible.
“We need to send a message to officers, to people in positions, whoever has a duty to act, they must take action or else they’ll be held accountable,” Butch Austin said. “That’s the message that we want to send. By charging the other officers, it will do just that.”
Patty Fosler and her husband drove their five grandchildren from Eagan to the memorial. She considers this a teaching moment; a chance to teach a new generation that equality is what matters.
“Things do need to change. You know, bad cops need to be corrected. But, you know, we still do need the police force,” Fosler said. “The artwork is really great, and the memorials are great, and the memories written in the streets and stuff, too.”
The consensus is that the work that so many artists have put into this ever-expanding memorial is beyond impressive, and beyond moving.