George Floyd street name draws praise and prejudice

.

A stretch of Chicago Avenue near where George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police on
Memorial Day has now been named “George Perry Floyd Jr. Place.” The Minneapolis City
Council last week approved a proposal made months ago by the Minneapolis City Planning
Commission to add a commemorative street name in Floyd’s honor.

The council approved placing a commemorative sign along Chicago Avenue declaring the
blocks between 37th Street East and 39th Street East “George Perry Floyd Jr. Place.” The
commemorative sign will not serve as a replacement for the current Chicago Avenue street
designation, but rather will be in addition to it.

The commemorative sign will be installed at the intersection of 38th and Chicago, which will
mark the designation. Representatives from Mayor Jacob Frey’s office said he would likely
approve the proposal as well.

Residents of the area surrounding 38th Street and Chicago avenues had given overwhelming
support for the idea of the recognition of Floyd. In June, supporters of the idea of having part of
the intersection where Floyd was killed named after him posted a sign saying George Floyd
Avenue in place of Chicago Avenue.

“I received the notice in the mail about renaming a portion of Chicago Avenue after GeorgeFloyd, and I just want to say that I ENTHUSIASTICALLY SUPPORT that measure, and
probably 90% of my neighbors do, too!” wrote one neighbor to the city council. “We have been
meeting on a weekly basis since the murder and we would be glad to testify that we
wholeheartedly support this proposed change.”

But the majority of the responses to the proposal, posted in the Star Tribune online on Friday
September 18 under an article titled “Minneapolis to name stretch of Chicago Avenue for George
Floyd,” opposed the idea Some responses were downright nasty and mean spirited. Many of the
commenters seemed to imply that because Floyd had a criminal record his killing was somehow
justified.

The comments were so negative that one commenter identified as ”psartman” even asked,
“Why does the Star Tribune allow all these comments that amount to hate speech defaming the
memory of George Floyd?”

“What other former felons should we name our streets after?” wrote “Gary MN.” “Why are
we memorializing George Floyd, someone with a criminal background? Why is there a double
set of standards?” wrote “nppd03.”

Another commenter, “FOHENAGH,” claiming Floyd had COVID-19, said, “The City of
Minneapolis chooses to honor a man with a violent criminal record, three illegal drugs in his
system at time of arrest for attempting to pass counterfeit currency at a local small business, who
resisted arrest, who knew he had COVID-19 but was out in public exposing others to infection
and an absentee father.” His statement garnered over 50 likes.

Another popular commenter wrote, “Fentanyl Floyd Ave?”

“Austinalum” wrote, “It hasn’t been determined yet if he died because of drug abuse or if he
was murdered. It is premature to act now on any kind of memorial, especially for a convicted
felon who died while resisting arrest.”

Someone identifying themselves as “spring12” implied that Confederate statutes are being
taken down simply because of a bad choice or two. They wrote, “Due to demands from some,
statues are being taken down because those honored individuals made questionable decisions in
their lives. Mr Floyd made questionable decisions in his life, yet is being honored.”

Someone calling themselves “getaclue” wrote, “Let me get this straight. The ‘protesters’ want
to rename lakes, streets, buildings, etc and pull down statues of historical people who did a lot of
good for this country, and by the laws of the time, did nothing illegal.

“But now there’s a plan to rename part of a street for someone who has a documented
criminal past [by today’s laws] including pointing a loaded gun at a pregnant woman’s stomach,
had illegal drugs in his system, and maybe have been attempting to pass a counterfeit $20 bill?
Sounds like a double-standard to me.”