Police officer kneeling on the neck of George Floyd killing him

Death of George Floyd

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Updated Apr 21, 2021 at 02:59AM EDT by andcallmeshirley.

Added May 27, 2020 at 11:46AM EDT by Matt.

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Overview

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.

Background

On May 25th, 2020, the Minneapolis police blog[1] 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."

They continued:

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[2] 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).


POICE ca ACE EAPOLIS We covered this video so you can decide if you want to see it. -7:27 HD RA Darnella Frazier O Like O Comment a Share O 18K 1.1M Views on Monday 路 18K Comments 37K Shares

Developments

Government Response

The following day, on May 26th, 2020, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey tweeted [3] 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,[4] "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,[18] "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).


Mayor Jacob Frey @MayorFrey Four responding MPD officers involved in the death of George Floyd have been terminated. This is the right call. 12:09 PM 路 May 26, 2020 路 Twitter for iPhone Rep. Ilhan Omar @lhan 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. Congreas of the tUnited tates Malingten, DE 20S1S violte a person's constitutional rights, which includes the use of excessive force.' We aso ask that you consider the aresting offieer's past involvement in any other allegad incidents of misoenduct. We urge you to condact a therough investigation ar the federal, sate, and kocal level into what ecured and hold all those involved in this incident accountable. May 26, 2020 The Honorable Erka H. MacDonald United States Attomry District of Minnesota 300 South Fourth Street, Suite 600 Mirnespolis, MN 55415 Sincerely, A Klobhen The So Michael O. Froeman Hernepin County Allomey C-2000 Govemmeni Center Amy har United States Senator Tina Smith Unitod Stutes Serutor 300 South Sith Street Minneapolis, MN 55487 lhn Dinar Betty MeColum Meniber of Congres Dear Ms. MacTorald and Mr. Freeman: Member of Congress We write to express our outrage over the douth of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department on the night ofMay 25, 2020, and te request that federal, state, and kocal authorities undertake a therough investigarion into the events that led to this tragedy. While we understand that the facts are still coming to light, and that stte and local authorities are reviewing the case, we believe that the seriousness of the incident requires additional independert oversight by law endorcement at all levels. We urge you to ensure that all evidence is quickly secured, including all video footage, and to aggressively pursue justice Aeceding to reports, Gieorge Floyd, who police saspectod of committing forgery, was uermed while he was handeuffed and appeared to be esperiencing modical distress.' Vidoo evidence from the incident shows an officer kneling on Mr. Floyd's neck as he pleaded Sor his life. At one poin, Floyd can be heard elling police, "I can'i brehe." The video continues to show Floyd stating, "my somach hurt, my neck hut, everything hurts." Shortly afler, Flayd appears to comcioussess while on the ground. A bystander is heard asking police to check Fleyd's pube, but the officer did not remove his knee from Floyd's neck until the ambulance arrived. Eyewitnesses state that Floyd then appeared motionkess before he was put on a stretcher and into an ambulance. After being transported by ambulance, he was announced dead at Hernepin County Modical Center, acceding to polke Mr. Floyd's death appars to be yet another horritying instanoe of eacessive force leading 1 death of Afican Americans across this country. In addition to the obvious state laus that will govem this case, federal law makes it a crime sar a state or local police officer to willfully gto the he wenens.oreita2 ia-imestietedeatefaaneniananlienaliceauted 7:29 PM 路 May 26, 2020 路 Twitter Web App Joe Biden @JoeBiden 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 鈥 they must be held responsible for their egregious actions. The FBI should conduct a thorough investigation. Breaking News O @BreakingNews 路 19h NEWE 4 Minneapolis police officers have been terminated following the death of George Floyd, who was seen pleading "I cannot breathe" as an officer put a knee on his neck for several minutes on Monday night, Minneapolis Mayor Frey says. nbcnews.to/2TDOb5q 6:31 PM 路 May 26, 2020 路 Twitter Web App >

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".[20]


Will Stancil @whstancil University of Minnesota just broke a bunch of ties with the Minneapolis Police Department Office of the President Dear students, faculty, and staff, Our hearts are broken after watching the appalling video capturing the actions of Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) officers against George Floyd leading to his tragic death. As a community, we are outraged and grief-stricken. I do not have the words to fully express my pain and anger and I know that many in our community share those feelings, but also fear for their own safety. This will not stand. Today I am announcing two immediate changes regarding our relationship with MPD. First, I have directed Senior Vice President Brian Burnett to no longer contract with the Minneapolis Police Department for additional law enforcement support needed for large events, such as football games, concerts, and ceremonies. Second, I have directed University Police Chief Matt Clark to no longer use the Minneapolis Police Department when specialized services are needed for University events, such as K-9 Explosive detection units. We have a responsibility to uphold our values and a duty to honor them. We will limit our collaboration with the MPD to joint patrols and investigations that directly enhance the safety of our community or that allow us to investigate and apprehend those who put our students, faculty, and staff at risk. I write to you to express our overwhelming sadness, and our demands for accountability and justice. Our campuses and facilities are a part of the communities in which they reside. University students, staff, and faculty are day-to- day participants in the life of every community in this state, and we must act when our neighbors are harmed and in pain. My heart is heavy and my thoughts are with the loved ones and friends of George Floyd. Let our voices be heard and please take care, Joan Gabel 7:26 PM 路 Mav 27, 2020 Twitter Web App

Online Reaction

George Floyd's death became a major topic of conversation on various platforms. On Reddit, threads in /r/news[5][6][7] and /r/pics[8][9][10] 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,[14] "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[15] 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).


GOLD Steve Kerr ARRIO @SteveKerr This is murder. Disgusting. Seriously, what the hell is wrong with US???? (wp The Washington Post @washingtonpost 路 May 26 "I cannot breathe!": FBI investigates death of black man after video shows cop kneeling on his neck wapo.st/2LYHVKF 9:11 AM 路 May 26, 2020 路 Twitter for iPhone > Anne Mulindwa @annemulindwa RIP George Floyda #icantbreathe #racism #BlackLivesMatter' #GeorgeLloyd #RIPGeorgeFloyd #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd 1 COUNTRY, 2 SYSTEMS JDURVETTE GEORGE FLOYD DYLANN ROOF SUSPECTED OF"FORGERY MURDERED 9 PEOPLE, ARRESTED PEACEFULLY KILLED BY POLICE 'We were murdered so often, I started believing Black bodies made better fertilizer. " Darnell Lamont Walker 2:34 AM - May 27, 2020 from Kampala, Uganda 路 Twitter for Android >


Twitter user @Yamiche tweeted[16] 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).


Yamiche Alcindor @Yamiche 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. Corom NIGHTS Light INDUSTRY 11:47 AM 路 May 26, 2020 路 Twitter Web App


Misidentification / #MakeWhitesGreatAgain

Some online believed that the officer who kneeled on Loyd's neck to be "Derek Chauvin." On May 26th, Twitter[11] 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[12] 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.[19]

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.[13]


Bishop Talbert Swan @TalbertSwan 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. #JusticeForFloyd MAKE WHITES AGAIN GREAT ICE EAPOLIS 9:16 PM 路 May 26, 2020 路 Twitter for iPhone > Cyrus S @CyrusShares Jonathan Riches is actually one of the most famous fraudsters in history with a world record as "the most litigious person" peoplepill.com/people/jonatha.. He faked being an Amish, Muslim Hillary supporter, a Jew Trump supporter and White nationalist After hearing that Guinness Book of World Records planned to give him the world ECORD record for having filed the highest number of lawsuit, Jonathan Lee Riches (a federal prisoner) did what he does best -- he sued them. TMUSLIMS FOR > see what she shares with friends, send her a friend request. Intro Christina Caldwell is with Jonathan Riches 3 hrs O Grandmother of the Great JLR (e) The blacker the berry the sweeter the juice Works at RetireSafe Lives in Clearwater Beach From Asheville, North Carolina JEWS Photos XX Jews MAKE WHITY AGAIN GREAT for Tessonn 8:53 PM 路 May 26, 2020 路 Twitter Web App > VORLD

Protests

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,[17] "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).


Sarah Silverman @SarahKSilverman 路 May 27 Police fire tear gas into a peaceful protest of George Floyd鈥檚 murder but stood like the goddamn Queen鈥檚 Guard when white assholes w guns storm the state capitol protesting HAVING 2 WEAR A MASK IN A PANDEMIC. We l

Surveillance Footage

On May 27th, TMZ[20] 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.


Chauvin's Arrest

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.

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.[21] The family's lawyer, Antonio Romanucci said:

Not only was the knee on George鈥檚 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[22] 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[23] and The New York Post,[24] as well as being shared to several social media platforms, such as Reddit's[25] /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[26] 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[27] 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).


Kimberley Johnson @AuthorKimberley This footage is horribly upsetting. We MUST #FixThePolice. Chauvin should spend the rest of his pathetic life behind bars for murdering George Floyd. #BLM EAPOUS Police bodycam footage shows arrest of George Floyd for the first time DailyMail.com has exclusively obtained video from the body cameras of two officers involved in the arrest of George Floyd that ultimately led to . O dailymail.co.uk

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.[28]

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.[29]



External References

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Top Comments

TripleA9000
TripleA9000

Those cops need to go to prison. They're murderous fucks who should never have a single day of peace in their lives again. And the one who held his knee on that poor man's neck deserves to die as far as I'm concerned.

+106
MCC1701
MCC1701

Absolutely horrific. While everyone is going to focus on the race(and maybe that is appropriate here, idk), at least it's shining a light on police brutality which is a silver lining in this. It also seems fairly cut and dry so there should be less in the way of conflicting narratives and more about the actual issue. As always I'm happy to reevaluate my position if/when evidence comes out, but I doubt any context will make this "okay."

That said, I want to highlight the section under Misidentification / #MakeWhitesGreatAgain of this article. GJ Matt, this was really well done. For anyone who doesn't want to scroll up, someone misidentified the guy wearing a "Make Whites Great Again" hat and the cop who did this, pouring gasoline on the race-based outrage fire. This has been identified as incorrect and they are two separate people, but expect it to still be parroted in days and weeks to come.

I bring this up as an example to never take "news" at face value, even if it aligns with your narrative or the truth, especially if it is found on social media or will naturally generate outrage. You see this everywhere these days, left, right, and center, so be careful.

+103

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