ASU Professor, Michael Mcquarrie, is also the director of the center for work and Democracy. He has been documenting the square for months and is out with a short film on what he found. He was in Minneapolis when the Chauvin trials verdict was reached.
He talks about the scene in Minneapolis. Mcquarrie said the scene is celebratory and people have a huge sense of relief. He said there are a lot of journalists around. There has been a protest at the courthouse, and there is a very large national guard presence around the city.
We talked about what George Floyd Square is. It is a cop-free zone. It was created after an impromptu memorial was built to George Floyd in the recent days after his murder. Police and the National Guard went through and attacked the peaceful mourners there and destroyed the mourner Mcquarrie said. After that, the community put up barricades.
The intersection became a “base” for people who are protesting or mourning he said. Eventually, the city ended up putting Jersey barriers there, so no one got hurt Mcquarrie said. He said it is a sacred space for mourning and grieving.
Mcquarrie explained it was organized organically. It is interesting because it is in an “existing urban neighborhood” and is not in a park he said. He said he is interested in the square because “it requires a pretty stunning political intelligence and community-building capacity to make that function well.” He is interested in that and how it developed.
He has been studying how this zone functions and how political intelligence works to keep it functioning. The community has to figure out a way of dealing with people’s needs, like homeless people, crime, and more, all without police in this area. They’ve managed to rely on the community for about 11 months now, he said.
We talk about why the media may have not spent a lot of time paying attention to George Floyd Square. He said it was very surprising how slow it was to pick up. He does say that it has begun to pick up a bit. Mcquarrie said, from his video that he created about this, he wants people to understand the achievement of the square and the aspiration behind it.