A video report from Minneapolis shows a “volatile” autonomous zone set up by a “militant-style group” around the George Floyd memorial. The video shows the journalist being confronted by two people dressed in all black who directed him to leave.
“Barricades have been set up by protesters and supporters of the movement,” NewsNation Now journalist Brian Entin reported from the scene and two men approached him from behind. “They don’t allow anyone in, not even the police.
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.
Later learned many protestors don't even feel comfortable there. pic.twitter.com/5w32fxQ0hR
— Brian Entin (@BrianEntin) March 10, 2021
The activists erected the barricades in the area where a police officer allegedly killed George Floyd. Jury selection for the trial of the accused now-former police officer Derek Cauvin began this week.
The activists who approached Entin from behind issued an ominous warning if he didn’t leave. “You’re going to be in a bad situation here in a second,” one of the activists said in a threatening tone. Entin asked what he meant by “bad situation.”
“You’re going to be called out for what you are and you need to get out of here,” the man on the right in the video stated. “We know what you are. You need to get in your car and go.”
Entin informed the man he is a member of a news media group. “I don’t give a f**k who you are,” the response came. The journalist and camera operator turned to leave.
Local resident Kim Griffin described the area as being “volatile” and does not feel inclusive. “There is more of a like militant-type atmosphere over there and a sense of fear.”
She told Entin her nephew, Imez Wright, was gunned down inside the autonomous zone over the weekend and activists blocked police officers from responding to the scene.
“Police were not allowed to get into that area. He was carried out outside of the zone of George Floyd Square,” Griffin explained. “It was made clear law enforcement was not welcome to penetrate that zone, which is an atrocity because his life was taken, and I mean who knows whether or not he would have survived had things been different.”
The New York Post reports that activists call for the zone to remain closed until trials are held for the three other officers charged in Floyd’s death.
“The thing about it is that a lot of the different demands are asks from different people, and black folks aren’t monolithic,” Jeanelle Austin, a leader of the autonomous zone, told the Post. “So it’s really incumbent upon our city leadership to really look at the needs behind the asks, and really fulfilling those needs.”
City leaders, however, vow to reopen the area at the conclusion of Chauvin’s trial.