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Adam Minter

Where George Floyd Died, Immigrant Businesses Are Suffering

Reduced policing and feckless political leadership have put immigrant communities at risk.

Dreams deferred.

Dreams deferred.

Photographer: Emilie Richardson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Last week, I walked past the burned-out, fenced-off remains of the Third Police Precinct in south Minneapolis. After the death of George Floyd four months ago, rioters looted and torched the precinct and much of the surrounding Lake Street area, a five-mile stretch that’s home to many small, immigrant-owned businesses. The precinct remains vacant, even as the rest of the neighborhood struggles back to life. The trashed Target store across the street is being rebuilt; a large white tent houses a temporary grocery store; demolition crews pull down the charred remains of an old brick building.

Elias Usso, a 42-year-old Ethiopian immigrant and pharmacist, opened his Seward Pharmacy last September on a busy block five minutes west of the Third Precinct. Standing behind his counter, Usso tells me that the business was holding its own right up until he received a phone call from his alarm company on the evening of May 27. He logged into the security cameras and watched as looters took things “like they work here.”