Death of George Floyd
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The Death of George Floyd occurred on May 25th, 2020, after a police officer pinned Floyd to the ground with his knee. Video of the altercation went viral on Facebook, leading to the dismissal of the four officers and calls for their prosecution through protests and demonstrations against police brutality. Police arrested the former officer shown choking Floyd in the video, and he was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. In late April 2021, Chauvin's trial concluded with the jury finding him guilty on all three charges.
On May 25th, 2020, the Minneapolis police blog reported a "critical incident" in which officers "responded to the 3700 block of Chicago Avenue South on a report of a forgery in progress. Officers were advised that the suspect was sitting on top of a blue car and appeared to be under the influence."
Two officers arrived and located the suspect, a male believed to be in his 40s, in his car. He was ordered to step from his car. After he got out, he physically resisted officers. Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress. Officers called for an ambulance. He was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center by ambulance where he died a short time later.
That day, Facebook user darnellareallprettymarie published video of Floyd being pinned by the police officer. They captioned the post, "They killed him right in front of cup foods over south on 38th and Chicago!! No type of sympathy." The video received more than 1.1 million views, 37,000 shares, 18,000 comments and 18,000 reactions (screenshot below).
The following day, on May 26th, 2020, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey tweeted  that the four officers had been "terminated." He wrote, "Four responding MPD officers involved in the death of George Floyd have been terminated. This is the right call." The tweet received more than 68,000 likes and 16,000 retweets in less than 24 hours (shown below, left).
Minnesota state representative Ilhan Omar tweeted, "Police brutality must end. Today, I led a letter with @SenAmyKlobuchar, @SenTinaSmith and @BettyMcCollum04 calling for an investigation into the death of George Floyd at the state, county, and federal levels. We must pursue justice and get answers to this unjust killing." The tweet received more than 3,600 likes and 700 retweets in less than 24 hours (shown below, center).
Presidential candidate Vice President Joe Biden tweeted, "George Floyd deserved better and his family deserves justice. His life mattered. I'm grateful for the swift action in Minneapolis to fire the officers involved -- they must be held responsible for their egregious actions. The FBI should conduct a thorough investigation." The tweet received more than 37,000 likes and 8,000 retweets in less than 24 hours (shown below).
University of Minnesota Response
The president of the University of Minnesota, Joan Gabel, sent out a statement in response to the murder of George Floyd that they would cut ties with the local police, one of which being "the university will not be making contracts with the MPD for additional officer support for large events -- football games, concerts, and other ceremonies".
George Floyd's death became a major topic of conversation on various platforms. On Reddit, threads in /r/news and /r/pics received more than 27,000 points in less than 24 hours.
On May 26th, Facebook user DavidJHarrisJr posted a reaction video about the incident. The post received more than 1.3 million views, 34,000 reactions and 26,000 shares (shown below).
On Twitter, Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr tweeted, "This is murder. Disgusting. Seriously, what the hell is wrong with US????" The tweet received more than 279,000 likes and 53,000 retweets in less than two days (shown below, left).
Twitter user @annemulindwa tweeted an illustration of George Floyd and Dylann Roof, who committed the 2015 Charleston Church mass murder, comparing their arrests. The post received more than 9,100 likes and 4,000 retweets in less than 24 hours (shown below, right).
Twitter user @Yamiche tweeted photographs of Floyd. They wrote, "Here are some more photos of George Floyd provided by his family. He was seen in the now widely shared Facebook video saying 'I can't breathe' repeatedly before his death following an incident with the Minneapolis police. An officer was seen kneeling on his neck." The tweet received more than 20,000 likes and 7,200 retweets in less than 24 hours (shown below).
Misidentification / #MakeWhitesGreatAgain
Some online believed that the officer who kneeled on Loyd's neck to be "Derek Chauvin." On May 26th, Twitter user @TalbertSwan tweeted, "Here is Derek Chauvin, the racist cop who kept his knee on # GeorgeFloyd's neck, cut off his air passage and murdered him, wearing a "Make Whites Great Again" hat, a clear sign that this piece of excrement should've been taken off the streets a long time ago." The tweet received more than 22,000 likes and 13,000 retweets (shown below, left).
However, Swan made the tweet before the names of the officers were released and published a photograph of Jonathan Riches. That day, Twitter user @CyrusShares tweeted that the man in the photograph on the right was Jonathan Riches, who they describe as "actually one of the most famous fraudsters in history with a world record as 'the most litigious person'" and wrote that Riches "faked being an Amish, Muslim Hillary supporter, a Jew Trump supporter and White nationalist" (shown below, right). Derek Chauvin was later identified as the officer in the video.
The photograph of Riches went viral due, in part, to his red "Make Whites Great Again" hat. As a result, the phrase "Make Whites Great Again" trended on Twitter.
Protests over George Floyd's death occurred on May 26th, 2020. That day, KARE 11, a local news station, published a report of the protest (shown below).
Some online objected to the police's use of tear gas and riot gear, comparing it to other protests that featured demonstrators carrying assault weapons. Comedian Sarah Silverman tweeted, "Police fire tear gas into a peaceful protest of George Floyd's murder but stood like the goddamn Queen's Guard when white assholes w guns storm the state capitol protesting HAVING 2 WEAR A MASK IN A PANDEMIC. We live in 2 America's & if this doesn't make it clear ur a dummy." The tweet received more than 24,000 likes and 8,200 retweets in less than 24 hours (shown below).
On May 27th, TMZ published surveillance footage of the arrest (mirror below). They wrote:
Remember, police say they were responding to a call for a possible forgery. We're told an employee at a nearby business says George had attempted to pay with a $10 bill they suspected was counterfeit and, as is company policy, had reported it to police.
The surveillance video was released by Dragon Wok's owner Rashad West, who says he wanted to put it out for his community.
On May 29th, police arrested Derek Chauvin in the death of Floyd. Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced that Derek Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
BREAKING: Derek Chauvin, one of four former officers fired for involvement in George Floyd’s death, has been charged with murder and manslaughter, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announces. https://t.co/70BeNIjMHL pic.twitter.com/XVrvNFw2IA
— ABC News (@ABC) May 29, 2020
Cause of Death
On June 1st, The New York Times reported that a private autopsy found that Floyd died of asphyxia and loss of blood flow. The autopsy, performed by Dr. Allecia M. Wilson of the University of Michigan and Dr. Michael Baden, a former New York City medical examiner, who the Floyd family hired, found that the weight of three officers on Floyd restricted blood and airflow. The family's lawyer, Antonio Romanucci said:
Not only was the knee on George’s neck a cause of his death but so was the weight of the other two police officers on his back, who not only prevented blood flow into his brain but also airflow into his lungs.
Dr. Baden said:
The autopsy shows that Mr. Floyd had no underlying medical problem that caused or contributed to his death. This is confirmed by information provided to Dr. Wilson and myself by the family.
Daily Mail Leaked Bodycam Footage
On August 3rd, 2020, British newspaper The Daily Mail published an article that contained leaked footage of the bodycams on Thomas Lane and Alex Kueng, two of the arresting officers. The 18-minute video (partly seen below) shows a moment-by-moment of the arrest from the time the police approached Floyd's car to his death.
The news was widely covered by several media outlets, including CNN and The New York Post, as well as being shared to several social media platforms, such as Reddit's /r/News sub, where it received over 48,000 upvotes and 9,300 comments.
On Twitter, the release of the bodycam footage began trending on the platform, where it was debated by multiple users. Twitter user Aubrey Huff tweeted on August 3rd and said, "Here is body cam footage of #GeorgeFloyd resisting arrest. He was obviously drugged out if his mind, & was having a massive panic attack. This video completely fucks up the narrative that he was compliant," receiving over 22,600 likes and 10,400 comments and retweets in less than 24 hours. That same day, Twitter user Kimberley Johnson tweeted, "This footage is horribly upsetting. We MUST #FixThePolice. Chauvin should spend the rest of his pathetic life behind bars for murdering George Floyd," receiving over 5,600 likes and 2,100 comments and retweets (shown below).
Derek Chauvin Verdict: Guilty On All Charges
On April 20th, 2021, the Derek Chauvin trial concluded with the jury reaching a verdict that found Chauvin guilty on all charges. After deliberating for more than 10 hours over the course of two days, the jury found Chauvin guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for the killing of George Floyd.
Following the conviction, the prosecution moved to have Chauvin's bail revoked, which the judge granted. Chauvin was then handcuffed in the courtroom and taken into custody by the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office with an estimated eight weeks until sentencing.
 Inside MDP (via Wayback Machine) – Investigative Update on Critical Incident
 Facebook – darnellareallprettymarie's Post
 Twitter – @MayorFrey's Tweet
 Twitter – @Ihlan's Tweet
 Twitter – @TalbertSwan's Tweet
 Twitter – @CyrusShares' Tweet
 Twitter – Make Whites Great Again
 Twitter – @SteveKerr's Tweet
 Twitter – @annemulindwa's Tweet
 Twitter – @Yamiche's Tweet
 Twitter – @SarahKSilverman's Tweet
 Twitter – Joe Biden's tweet
 The Daily Beast – Derek Chauvin, Minneapolis Cop Shown Kneeling on George Floyd's Neck, Hires Philando Castile Shooter's Lawyer
 TMZ – GEORGE FLOYD NEW SURVEILLANCE VID SHOWS MOMENTS BEFORE KILLING …No Signs of Him Resisting
 CBS Minnesota – U Of M President Announces Plans To Cut Some Ties With Minneapolis Police Department
 Daily Mail – George Floyd Police Bodycam Footage
 CNN – Leaked Police Bodycam Video
 New York Post – New Bodycam Video
 Twitter – aubrey_huff
 Twitter – AuthorKimberley
 CNN – Derek Chauvin Trial Verdict
 NY Times – Derek Chauvin Verdict
May 27, 2020 at 12:08PM EDT
May 27, 2020 at 12:48PM EDT
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