Unarmed black man George Floyd died in Minneapolis, Minnesota when police officer, Derek Chauvin, kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds on May 25th, 2020. Since then, protests and riots against police brutality have been happening all over America and worldwide.
Police officers were called to the scene when it was reported that Floyd had allegedly used a counterfeit $20 bill to pay for cigarettes. The police officers involved, Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas K. Lane, and Derek Chauvin, claimed that he did physically resist arrest so that is why they physically restrained him.
According to the body cameras worn by officers Lane and Kueng, the criminal complaint filed later stated that Floyd, “did not voluntarily get in the car and struggled with the officers, intentionally falling down, saying he was not going in the car, and refusing to stand still”. However, local restaurant security footage and bystander smartphone recordings showed Floyd to be co-operating with police officers during his arrest.
Floyd was handcuffed and forced to lie down on the ground when officer Derek Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds: 2 minutes and 53 seconds of that time was when Floyd stopped responding, according to the criminal complaint against Chauvin. The other police officers involved pinned down Floyd’s legs and torso.
Bystander smartphone footage showed Floyd repeating, “I can’t breathe”, “Don’t kill me”, and saying, “I will” after the police officers told him to “well, get up, get in the car,man” while Chauvin continued to keep his knee on Floyd’s neck. The autopsy results showed no indication of strangulation as the cause of Floyd’s death but that underlying heart and artery conditions likely contributed to his death. Floyd’s family have requested an independent autopsy.
The next day, the 4 police officers involved in the arrest were fired and on May 29th, Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Peaceful demonstrations began in Minneapolis from May 26th but became violent later in the day as shops were looted and set on fire.
Protests have been spreading across more than 100 cities in the U.S. and internationally. George Floyd’s death has been compared to unarmed black man, Eric Garner, who was choked to death by a New York Police officer in 2014.