In the days following the alleged murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, cases of arson spread throughout the Twin Cities. The following weekend, concerned residents coordinated block watch and neighborhood patrol efforts to deter crime, boarding-up windows and doors along busy thoroughfares and preparing their own means of fire suppression.
In the West Bank neighborhood near downtown Minneapolis, local residents, business owners and workers, alongside outside volunteers, organized their own neighborhood protection. They stood watch overnight, watching for suspicious activity, alerting each other via an instant messaging thread of pedestrians breaking curfew or vehicles with no license plates.
Among the West Bank block watchers, a large contingent of Somali youth created their own checkpoints on 4th Street and 6th Street along Cedar Avenue. KFAI’s Ryan Dawes spoke with three of these volunteers about their patrol efforts and how they identify with the Black Lives Matter movement. Listen here: