George Floyd

Today (April 19) is the day for closing arguments to the Jury from prosecution and defense in the Derek Chauvin trial in Minneapolis.  Thence the jury of citizens will take up the matter and make the final decision – well, their final decision.  At this moment, no one knows for sure the outcome or the future.  We all have the opportunity for our own opinions.  I’ve heard a few.

What I have to say I’ve said at the originating post as amended, which you can review here.  At the end of that post, most recently amended Tuesday morning, April 20, I say what I might rule, if given the responsibility.

Today my choice of activity was to pass on the oral argument and go instead to my personal ‘pilgrimage place’, the site of GandhiMahal Restaurant which burned to the ground, last May 29, part of the aftermath of May 25, 2020.

I took a few photos.  Here are two:

The Gandhi Mahal area April 19.  The choice of door – apparently from a commercial food cooler – was pretty obviously very deliberate, but why, as yet unknown.  It was not there April 17, so was installed only a day or two ago.  Also unknown is the Bamboo choice of fencing, and the two grill sculptures of rebar.  The questions will be answered, doubtless.  Behind the photographer (see below), a block west of the door (beside and behind the red brick building)  is the 3rd precinct Police Station, still closed. Between is a mural to George Floyd and Kobe Bryant.  Workmen were involved in some project in the buildings at right.  The entire area is involved in reconstruction.

The neighborhood, which I have visited often over the months since late May, 2020, still shows evidence of the demonstrations, but there are definite signs of recovery.  Ruhel Islam, owner of Gandhi Mahal, has to be an optimist, fencing his property with Bamboo grass, or so it appears.  He is a man of peace, and I am sure he has something planned for his lot, though I don’t know what that might be.

None of us have any idea about what may or may not happen once a Jury verdict is announced.

People do have thoughts.  A lady I’ve known and respected for over 20 years, Carole, sent a link to her personal website, here.  She is working with others to build forward.

Yesterday came an e-mail from a friend which deserves attention.

Fr. Harry Bury, activist Priest best known from the 1960s, but in more recent times leader of the local Twin Cities Nonviolent, which for the past three years or so has done a major 10 day event around September 21, wrote this to me, yesterday:

“I need as many letters to flood the editors of publications stating that Twin Cities Nonviolent is actively seeking ending all violence in the Twin Cities and especially as the trial reaches its verdict.
Then we need for people to understand that “JUSTICE” does not mean punishment. To end violence, justice must mean restoration, rehabilitation, and reconciliation, not retribution. If justice stands for “getting even” then violence will continue and get worse. This is the message of Twin Cities Nonviolent. It needs to be heard and\ implemented. Your help is essential.”
Fr. Bury has walked the talk of peace and nonviolence for his entire life.
Finally, if you missed the film, The World Is My Country, I believe you can still access it here.  It is a film about possibility, not impossibility.  How a young man dove in, and made a difference.  I wish every young person would have an opportunity to see this film, and have an opportunity to discuss it with both peers and elders.  Take a look.

The fence around the Gandhi Mahal lot on 27th at Lake St. Minneapolis, April 19, 2020.

Gandhi Mahal area May 29, 2020

COMMENTS ARE SOLICITED (also see end of post)

from Jeff: I am expecting guilty of 3rd degree homicide and 2nd degree manslaughter, and 7 to 10 years.   And that outcome I fear will not make activists happy, but should enliven the opportunists who follow them after 10pm to damage peoples lives like your friend and his restaurant.

from Steve: I do remember Fr. Bury and agree with the words you’ve quoted here. Thanks for the reminder of this life dedicated to healing and justice.

from Fr. Paul: GREAT thoughts, Dick.

from Tony: Thanks.  Nice work.

POSTNOTE April 22, 2021:   All is calm after the Tuesday verdicts in Minneapolis.  But all is not finished at all, not here, not in this country.  This mornings Just Above Sunset summarizes the terrain: “The Dust Settled” .

I took another drive down to the GandhiMahal neighborhood yesterday afternoon.  It was a chilly day; everything was quiet.  Quite obviously city officials had braced for trouble.  The windows of the Library across the alley from the restaurant lot had been covered with plywood.  The library has been open since January, but access is through the back door.  Inside, the library was…a library.  A man was there with his infant, etc.  But not yet the same.

Not a thread of bamboo had been interfered with on the Gandhi Mahal “wall”.  A workman was doing some work on what quite obviously will be an outdoor stage for some as yet unknown event, I’m guessing on the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s death.  But I don’t know.

Some collapsed sidewalk from last year is about the only remnant of the chaos a year ago.  It may be there intentionally.  We shall see.

I’m posting a few last thoughts at the March 29 post, if you wish….

With wishes for peace and justice for all.

Four photos at the Hennepin Country Library at Lake Street near 27th on Apr 21, 2021. Boarding of the windows was very recent. Especially not the “open”. The only access to the building is on the back side. To my knowledge, library windows were not broken nor covered a year ago.

Main entrance to the Lake Street Library.

Gandhi Mahal area April 21, 2021

1 reply
  1. John Bernard
    John Bernard says:

    Thanks again for your on ground reporting from the heart of the situation. Probably the entire nation and the world is looking out as the jury verdict is imminent.
    My best guess is either probably full acquittal, or possible conviction on the least charge. The unfortunate thing is regardless of what anyone thinks, the jury has to rely on very strict and narrow definitions of what they’re being asked to consider. It is unlikely from what I have read from afar that any intent to cause the death was proved.

    Heartfelt prayers for the Minneapolis area (and also most of the urban centers on what will likely be a trying few days).


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.