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ASU professor creates ‘George Floyd Square’ documentary

Through his film, ASU professor Michael McQuarrie hopes people understand the achievement of the square and the aspiration behind it.

PHOENIX — George Floyd Square is a police-free zone, created after an impromptu memorial was built near the site where Floyd was murdered by a Minneapolis police officer last year.

It has been a continuous site of protest since the day he died.

For months, an ASU professor, who is also the director of the Center for Work and Democracy, has been documenting the autonomous zone.  

He has now created a short film sharing what life is like within the barricades.  

ASU professor visits autonomous zone

ASU sociologist Michael McQuarrie started visiting the space near the site of George Floyd's murder last August, to research the functions of this autonomous zone.  

“That’s when I realized that nobody was actually studying it,” he said.

Cheers, relief felt after guilty verdict announcement

McQuarrie was in Minneapolis when the Chauvin trial verdict was reached.  

RELATED: Derek Chauvin found guilty of murder, manslaughter in death of George Floyd

“People were extremely relieved and very happy, and in the square, they felt like they had a real sense of accomplishment.”  

But their work is not done. Protesters in George Floyd Square have a justice resolution that has 24 demands. The conviction of Chauvin is just one of them. 

George Floyd Square portrayed in 5-minute documentary

McQuarrie's research has led to the production of a short documentary showing the day-to-day life of George Floyd Square.  

“It’s all footage that was shot by people who are participants in the square,” McQuarrie said.  

In the video, you learn the site has become a continuous site of protest against injustice, a sacred space, where people remember the Black lives murdered by law enforcement.

Life within barricades without police

“It’s a place that feels very safe to a lot people, who are often victimized or attacked by police, so trans people, Black people, Native Americans,” he said. 

The film shows what it's like within the barricades without police. 

“This experiment is really very unusual and also quite successful,” McQuarrie said.  

Through his film, McQuarrie hopes people understand the achievement of the square and the aspiration behind it.  

“That everybody really is treated equally,” he said. “…not simply in a du jour way, in the law, but practically.” 

The documentary

To see more on how McQuarrie's research on George Floyd Square is having an impact, click here.

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