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Why This Started in Minneapolis

Conditions that led to George Floyd’s death are not unique to Minneapolis and St. Paul. But there’s a reason why the Twin Cities triggered a national uprising.
Police in riot gear march down Plymouth Avenue during riots in North Minneapolis on July 21, 1967.
Police in riot gear march down Plymouth Avenue during riots in North Minneapolis on July 21, 1967.Minnesota Historical Society/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

Police officer Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd near the intersection of Chicago Avenue and East 38th Street in Minneapolis, but the protests that have erupted in response to his death have rippled worldwide. From Riverton, Wyoming, to Flatbush, Brooklyn — and now in Paris, London, and other European capitals — communities have risen up in a shared rage that speaks to the universality of police violence and the inequities that feed it.

Minneapolis, however, stands out as the site where it all began. The city’s history of disparate policing, and the ways racism and division molded its physical landscape, might help us understand why.