Elizabeth Rosner and Jorge Fitz-Gibbon, New York Post, April 22, 2021
Black-owned businesses at the intersection where George Floyd was killed by police last year — now known as George Floyd Square — say they are in dire straits.
Black merchants near the once-thriving corner of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue said police have abandoned the blocked-off intersection, creating a dangerous autonomous zone that has seen crime spike and business evaporate.
“The city left me in danger,” the owner of Smoke In The Pit restaurant told The Post Thursday.
“They locked us up on here and left us behind,” said the merchant, who asked to be identified only as Alexander W. for fear of reprisals.
“They left me with no food, no water, nothing to eat,” he said. “The police, fire trucks, can’t come in here.”
At least five stores along one block are shuttered. Owners and workers at most of the stores that do remain open were too afraid to comment to The Post.
The black-owned businesses say they have lost 75-percent of their business since the Floyd memorial sprouted up shortly after his death — and have even launched a GoFundMe fundraising page in a desperate bid to stay afloat.
The merchants “feel they have been the sacrificial lambs” in the city’s response to Floyd’s death, according to the fundraising page.
The city barricaded the intersection to allow for the Floyd memorial to be erected.
Police said last month they would retake the intersection and restore safety, but gave no timeline, the Star-Tribute reported at the time.
And it has yet to happen — even after a jury on Tuesday convicted ex-Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin of murder and manslaughter charges in Floyd’s death.