A reporter was threatened by two activists patrolling the perimeter of the George Floyd Memorial 'autonomous zone.'
Emmy award-winning journalist Brian Entin, correspondent for News Nation Now, was filming in front of the zone barriers when in the middle of recording he was approached and threatened by two white guards, one male and one female, dressed in all black with black masks
The female activist said, "We’re going to have to ask you to leave," while the male spoke over her and stated "You’re going to be in a bad situation here in a second."
Entin replied to the activists that he was filming outside of the zone, "Oh, I thought if we were on this side of the barricade…" when he was suddenly cut off m id-sentence by the male activist. "You're going to be in bad situation on a second."
The activist added, "You’ve been called out for what you are and you need to get outta here." The female activist added, "please go."
As Entin tried to explain that he was a member of the media the male activist cut him off again and said "We know what you are. You need to get outta here." The female added, "Please go." Before Entin could protest the male activist said, "We know what you are, you need to get in your car and go. I don’t give a f*** who you are you need to get in your car and go."
The autonomous zone was established after the death of George Floyd in May. Gates and jury-rigged barriers set up by activists, enclose 'George Floyd Square,' a four block area from 37th to 39th Streets South and Columbus and Elliott Avenues East, that serves as a memorial in the neighborhood where Floyd died.
Activists do not allow police inside the zone and have even banned white people from time to time. Neighbors told the Washington Times that they have tried working with protesters, and asked that traffic not be disrupted. Activists allegedly responded with threats. They added that safety concerns have caused people to move out of the neighborhood and pointed to multiple for-sale signs and empty houses nearby.
Entin interviewed Kim Griffin, a Minneapolis resident whose nephew was shot and killed in the zone Saturday night. "The situation at the memorial, from what I understand, is kind of volatile. People that want to go and support doesn’t feel a sense of inclusion. There is more of a like militant type atmosphere over and a sense of fear."
According to Entin, Griffin supports police reform and has protested Floyd’s death outside the Minneapolis courthouse, but she does not agree with what is happening at the memorial. She identified her nephew to NewsNation as Imez Wright. Minneapolis Police as of publishing had not yet released the name of the victim.
Griffin told Entin, "Police were not allowed to get into that area; he was carried out outside of the zone of George Floyd Square. 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."
Residents blame gang violence, BLM activists and protests as the primary cause of the unrest and crime in the area. According to News Nation, "Violent crime at the intersection and the blocks immediately surrounding it rose dramatically in 2020, though crime also increased citywide. There were 19 nonfatal and fatal shootings in the area in 2020, including 14 shootings from May 1 through Aug. 31. That’s compared with three shootings in all of 2019 and none during the summer months."
A BLM activist who calls herself a medic for the 'autonomous zone' told the Washington Times that she heard what sounded like "500 gunshots" Saturday night during her shift. Police spokesman John Elder said police were notified of Saturday's shooting at about 5:45 pm and were told the victim or victims had been brought out of the autonomous zone to the edge of the intersection. According to Elder, "Officers were met with some interference at the scene." Police were notified that the victim had already been brought to a hospital, and then discovered he had died. In September 2020, Elder denied the zone existed to Fox News.
The shooting suspect allegedly had an argument with the victim, opened fire and then fled the scene in a cream colored Chevrolet Suburban which may have suffered "gunshot damage."
Minneapolis officials claim they will reopen the autonomous zone after the murder trial of the former police officer David Chauvin accused of killing Floyd. However activists in the zone have issued two dozen demands they say must be met before they will stand down. The demands include investing over $700,000 into the zone.