An ax-wielding man was captured on video vandalizing displays and a structure at George Floyd Square in south Minneapolis late at night over the weekend.
The damage occurred about 2 a.m. Sunday at 38th and Chicago, the intersection that has been an informal gathering place and remembrance since Floyd was killed by police May 25, 2020.
"This was particularly upsetting that this would happen after the historic trial and the upcoming memorial," said LaToya Evans, a spokeswoman for the nonprofit that is organizing a celebration of Floyd's life on the anniversary of his killing by convicted murderer Derek Chauvin.
Evans said repairs have been made after "this unfortunate act of vandalism."
The surveillance video showed a man arriving in a pickup truck and striding toward the square, where he tore down signs and threw items out of a shed.
He then retrieved an ax from his pickup bed and took several whacks at the brightly colored shed before someone shouted at him to leave.
The man looked over his shoulder as he returned to the pickup, got in and sped off. But he left behind his ax — and presumably, his fingerprints.
Marcia Howard, who helps manage the square, said in a TikTok posting that "the memorial wasn't destroyed. We were watching. If you notice, our video was tracking him. ... Listen, we're still here. We're still holding it down. No justice, no street."
The man has yet to be identified and left no apparent clues about his motive.
Some neighborhood residents and others who have visited the commercial and residential intersection over the years have expressed frustration that it has been closed to private and transit vehicles for nearly a year.
Mayor Jacob Frey has said he favors a "phased reopening" of the square that would include a Floyd memorial because he has heard from residents and business owners who want it reopened.
Police spokesman John Elder said Wednesday that the incident has yet to be reported to police.
"If there was a report, we absolutely would investigate," he said.
Elder dismissed any notion that the Minneapolis Police Department is purposely ignoring the vandalism because of any perception that officers are unwelcome in the square or that it features anti-police graffiti.
"We don't use our services as a tool to act out against people who don't like us," he said.
Vandals have targeted the square in the past year. In April, a billboard promoting nonviolence at the site was transformed into a pro-violence message when someone covered up the prefix "non" in the phrase "Don't let anyone convince you that nonviolence is ineffective."
A mural painted on the side of Cup Foods, where Floyd was killed, has been defaced multiple times but continues to be preserved by the square's caretakers.
Staff writer Susan Du contributed to this report. Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482