It was supposed to be a solemn reminder of the death of George Floyd one year ago. Instead, it was a window into what life in the square renamed after him is now really like.
Because the events of Floyd’s final hours completely overshadowed all other national conversation for so much of the past year, and because the corner where he died has become something of a national shrine or touchpoint for activists, it was only natural that reporters would gather on the scene for some live footage of the place where it happened, exactly one year later.
This kind of reporting is usually just a matter of drive to the location, set up the camera, present an anodyne ‘this is what it looks like here one year later’ story, pack up and go home.
Having real news break out in the middle of a set piece like this is unexpected. Having criminal behavior and a potentially life-threatening situation spring out of it? Unthinkable in most situations.
But George Floyd Square in Minneapolis is not like ‘most situations’.
Multiple news crews had their footage punctuated by the sound of gunfire . . . a lot of it.
Unbelievable if real: ABC broadcast from George Floyd Square interrupted by shooting pic.twitter.com/vo6WoeB1PB
— Kyle Hooten (@KyleHooten2) May 25, 2021
Oh, it’s real.
Apex of irony, huh? Hold that thought until after you see the NEXT video.
Here’s another feed.
A drive-by shooting was caught live on TV at George Floyd Square while a journalist was talking about police reform. pic.twitter.com/BDSeaUUl66
— MRCTV (@mrctv) May 25, 2021
Right from the very beginning of the reporter’s TV hit, the irony was so thick you could cut it with a knife.
‘This bill of comp- [bang, bang] -rehensive police reform to be uh, to [pause, looks around, more gunshots ring out] just going to be careful here with some gunshots [crouches down, starts walking out of the frame] excuse us, excuse us.’
The man is reporting on pending police reform legislation, using the occasion of George Floyd’s death as a backdrop while another crime takes place in the background.
Someone claimed the sound we heard wasn’t gunshots. It was just ‘firecrackers’.
Cool story bro. Maybe that guy can explain how firecrackers did this:
Minneapolis Police said they responded just after 10:00 a.m. (11 a.m. ET) to reports of shots fired near Elliott Avenue, which is part of an area known as George Floyd Square. There were also social media reports of shots ringing out in the area Tuesday morning.
A short time later, a person showed up at Abbott Northwestern Hospital suffering from a non-life threatening gunshot wound, according to authorities. —NPR
How are those defund-the-police policies working out so far?
Homicides are up 108 per cent from a year earlier, in the 12 months to May 10, while shootings have risen 153 per cent, Fox 9 reported.
The city has seen a 222 per cent increase in car-jackings this year compared with this point in 2020, averaging 1.27 incidents per day, according to police data.
Greg Johnson, whose son Charlie, 21, was shot and killed in the early hours of Saturday, insisted that something needed to change. —DailyMail
One local even dismissed random gunfire as having become commonplace.
George Floyd has been elevated to the status of political martyr because his death is useful to a certain political cause.
But the policies those same activists are calling for in Floyd’s name have victims of their own. The demonization, defunding, and overall demoralization of Minneapolis police has resulted in nearly 200 cops quitting the force in that city. Many of them have filed PTSD claims.
Other nearby law enforcement agencies have been called upon to help bolster their ranks as a temporary fix. That gives us the context of one grieving grandfather’s words response.
Yet the grandfather of nine-year-old Trinity Ottoson-Smith, who was fatally shot while jumping on a trampoline in her backyard in early May, said the reinforcements needed to be permanent. —DailyMail
George Floyd, by reason of the final few moments of his life, has instant redemption from the parts of his life that have caused serious harm to others. He has monuments and a movement spring up bearing his name.
Legislation is negotiated. Family members get White House visits.
But since her name can’t be connected to any cause, will anyone remember the name of Trinity Ottoson-Smith? Or will her memory just be reduced to yet another anonymous statistic?