|This article may be affected by a current event. Information in this article may change rapidly as the event progresses. Initial news reports may be unreliable. The last updates to this article may not reflect the most current information.|
A frame from a video of the event taken by an onlooker.
|Date||May 25, 2020|
|Time||<acronym class="hidden" title="circa">c.</acronym> 8:08–8:28 pm (CDT)|
|Location||Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.|
Location of Minneapolis, where the incident took place, in Hennepin County and in the state of Minnesota.
On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, an African-American man, died in Powderhorn, a neighborhood south of downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States. While Floyd was handcuffed and lying face down on a city street during an arrest, Derek Chauvin, a white Minneapolis police officer, kept his knee on the right side of Floyd's neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds; 2 minutes and 53 seconds of which occurred after Floyd became unresponsive, according to the criminal complaint filed against Chauvin. Officers Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas K. Lane participated in Floyd's arrest, with Kueng holding Floyd's back, Lane holding his legs, and Thao looking on as he stood nearby.
The incident was recorded on the smartphones of bystanders. The arrest was made after Floyd allegedly attempted to use a $20 bill in a deli, which an employee identified as counterfeit. Police stated that Floyd "physically resisted" after being ordered to exit his vehicle before the video was filmed. Surveillance footage from a nearby restaurant appeared to contradict police claims, with Floyd shown falling twice while being escorted by the officers. The criminal complaint stated 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" based on body cameras worn by Kueng and Lane. Video recording by a witness, showing the arrested Floyd repeating "Please", "I can't breathe", and "Don't kill me", was widely circulated on social media platforms and broadcast by the media. All four officers were fired the next day.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is conducting a federal civil rights investigation into the incident at the request of the Minneapolis Police Department. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) is also investigating possible violations of Minnesota statutes. On May 29, Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for Floyd's death, with Hennepin County attorney Michael O. Freeman saying he anticipated charges to be brought against the other three officers at the scene of Floyd's death.
After Floyd's death, demonstrations and protests in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul area were initially peaceful on May 26, but later that day became violent as windows were smashed at a police precinct, two stores were set on fire, and many stores were looted and damaged. Some demonstrators skirmished with police, who fired tear gas and rubber bullets. Protests sprang throughout the nation. Preliminary results from the official autopsy found no indication that Floyd died of strangulation or traumatic asphyxia, but that the combined effects of being restrained, underlying health conditions, including coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease, and potential intoxicants in his system likely contributed to his death. Attorneys for Floyd's family announced that they have requested an independent autopsy.
Floyd's death has been compared to the 2014 death of Eric Garner. Garner, also an unarmed black man, repeated "I can't breathe" eleven times after being placed in a chokehold by a New York police officer during an arrest in Staten Island.
- 1 People involved
- 2 Events
- 3 Aftermath
- 4 Reactions
- 5 Gallery
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
George Perry Floyd was a 46-year-old African-American man who was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and raised in Houston, Texas. He attended Yates High School where he played on the basketball and football teams. He played basketball at South Florida Community College but did not finish school. Floyd returned to Houston where he joined the hip-hop group Screwed Up Click. In 2014, Floyd moved to Minnesota. He lived in St. Louis Park and worked in nearby Minneapolis as a restaurant security guard for five years. At the time of his death, Floyd had recently lost his job due to Minnesota's stay-at-home order during the COVID-19 pandemic. Floyd was the father of two daughters, aged 6 and 22, who remained in Houston.
Derek Michael Chauvin (born March 19, 1976), a 44-year-old white man, had been an officer in the Minneapolis Police Department since around 2001. Chauvin had 18 complaints on his official record, two of which ended in discipline from the department, including official letters of reprimand. He had been involved in three police shootings, one of which was fatal. According to former club owner Maya Santamaria, Floyd and Chauvin both worked as security guards and had overlapping shifts at the Latin nightclub, El Nuevo Rodeo. She said Chauvin had worked there for 17 years, while Floyd had worked at about a dozen events. She said it was not clear if they knew each other but that she did not believe so. Santamaria said Chauvin got along well with Latino regulars at the club, but said his tactics toward unruly customers on what she referred to as "African American" nights led her to speak to him.
Tou Thao attended the police academy in 2009 and was hired to a full-time position with the Minneapolis police in 2012 after being laid off for two years. In 2017, Thao was a defendant in an excessive-use-of-force lawsuit that was settled out of court for $25,000.
Initial statements from the police and paramedics
Shortly after 8:00 p.m. on May 25, Memorial Day, Minneapolis Police Department officers responded to a "forgery in progress" on Chicago Avenue South in the Powderhorn neighborhood of Minneapolis. According to WCCO, the implication was that Floyd "tried to use forged documents at a nearby deli". According to a co-owner of Cup Foods, Floyd attempted to use a $20 bill that a staff member identified as counterfeit. According to police, Floyd was in a nearby car and "appeared to be under the influence". A spokesman for the police department said the officers ordered him to exit the vehicle, at which point he "physically resisted". These claims were contradicted by the release of a bystander's video recording, though one video does show that "Officer [Chauvin] struggles to get Floyd out of the car".
According to the Minneapolis police, officers "were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress", and called for an ambulance. No weapons were used in the arrest, according to a statement from the Minneapolis police. According to the Minneapolis Fire Department, paramedics moved Floyd from the location and were doing chest compressions and other lifesaving measures on an "unresponsive, pulseless male". Floyd was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 9:25.
Video of the arrest recorded by bystander
Part of the arrest was recorded by a bystander and streamed to Facebook Live, which went viral. Chauvin is seen on video applying pressure with his knee to Floyd's neck while his hand is in his pocket. Former police officers were critical of Chauvin's left hand appearing to be in his pocket, as if he was striking a casual pose or relaxing as Floyd warned police about his struggle to breathe. However, a closer look at the video of all of Chauvin's movements shows his left hand is in a black glove and that he was resting his hand on his mid-thigh during that time instead. Because his black glove was against his black pants, photos taken from the video make his hand 'disappear' as if it were in a pocket.Template:Original research inline
When the video starts, Floyd is already pinned chest down to the ground, and Officer Chauvin is kneeling on his neck. Floyd repeatedly tells Chauvin "Please" and "I can't breathe", while also moaning, groaning, and sobbing. A bystander tells police, "You got him down. Let him breathe."
Another bystander says, "One of my homies died the same way", and after Floyd responds "I'm about to die the same", Chauvin tells Floyd to relax. The police ask Floyd, "What do you want?" Floyd answers, "I can't breathe." Floyd states: "Please, the knee in my neck, I can't breathe." Someone tells Floyd to "get up and get in the car" (which Agence France Presse, CBS News and WVLT-TV identify as one of the officers, while Buzzfeed News says it is "unclear" whether it was an officer speaking), to which Floyd replies, "I will ... I can't move." Chauvin would continue to kneel on Floyd's neck as he struggled. Floyd cries out, "Mama!" Floyd says, "My stomach hurts, my neck hurts, everything hurts", and requests water. The police do not audibly respond to Floyd. Floyd begs, "Don't kill me."
Chauvin was described as putting his full body weight onto Floyd's neck. One bystander points out that Floyd is bleeding from the nose. Another tells the police that Floyd is "not even resisting arrest right now". The police tell the bystanders that Floyd was "talking, he's fine"; a bystander replies that Floyd "ain't fine". The bystander protests that the police were preventing Floyd from breathing, urging them, "Get him off the ground ... You could have put him in the car by now. He's not resisting arrest or nothing. You're enjoying it. Look at you. Your body language."
Floyd goes silent and motionless, but Chauvin does not lift his knee from Floyd's neck. The bystanders protest that Floyd is "not responsive", and repeatedly ask the police to check Floyd's pulse. A bystander questions, "Did they fucking kill him?"
An ambulance eventually arrives, and Chauvin does not remove his knee until emergency medical services put Floyd's unresponsive body on a stretcher. The body is loaded into the ambulance, and taken away. A male bystander says that the police "just really killed" Floyd. This video showed that Chauvin had knelt on Floyd's neck for at least seven minutes.
A second bystander video, taken from inside a vehicle, shows Floyd being removed from his vehicle. Vice describes that Floyd "doesn't appear to be resisting – just standing next to his car". The Independent wrote, "The video shows two policemen pulling Mr. Floyd from his car without any apparent resistance."
A six-minute video from a security camera of a nearby restaurant was provided to the news media. It shows two officers removing a man from a vehicle. The man is handcuffed and brought to a sidewalk, where he sits down. A third officer arrives. Later, an officer helps the man stand up again, and two officers bring the man to a police vehicle, where the man falls onto the ground. While police initially claimed that Floyd had resisted arrest, this surveillance video "shows officers calmly detaining him", according to CBS News. The surveillance video "does not support police claims that George Floyd resisted arrest", wrote CNN.
A video of the incident from a different angle showed "three officers have Floyd pinned on the ground, while another stands over him", reported CBS Evening News. The Wall Street Journal described it as "three officers are seen sitting on" Floyd.
Minneapolis Park Police (MPP) – a different agency than the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) – had one officer at the location of Floyd's detainment. The MPP released a heavily redacted version of the officer's body-cam footage on May 28. The footage showed the MPP officer reassuring two passengers from Floyd's car that an ambulance would arrive at the scene, and telling them to "stay put". CNN noted the officer was "not facing the direction of the incident when it happened".
All four officers directly involved in the fatal arrest were wearing body cameras. As of May 29, Minneapolis police had not yet released this footage.
That day, the FBI announced it was reviewing the incident. Footage from the officers' body cameras was turned over to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump is representing Floyd's family.
On May 27, misinformation targeting Chauvin began to circulate on social media. Particularly prominent were claims that Chauvin was the subject of a photo wearing a "Make Whites Great Again" hat and that Chauvin was onstage with President Donald Trump at a political rally; both claims were later proven to be false.
On May 28, the United States Department of Justice released a joint statement with the FBI, saying they had made the investigation into Floyd's death "a top priority". They said they had assigned experienced prosecutors and FBI criminal investigators to the matter, and outlined the investigation's next steps: a "comprehensive investigation will compile all available information and thoroughly evaluate evidence and information obtained from witnesses ... If it is determined that there has been a violation of federal law, criminal charges will be sought." The Wall Street Journal categorized this statement from the Justice Department as "notably strong", given that the department "often takes a more muted tone in describing continuing investigations".
Chauvin was arrested on May 29, and Hennepin County attorney Mike Freeman charged him with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. He said he also anticipated charges for the three other officers. Under Minnesota law, third-degree murder is defined as causing another's death without intent to kill, but "evincing a depraved mind, without regard for human life". Second-degree manslaughter also does not imply lethal intent, but that the perpetrator created "an unreasonable risk" of serious harm or death. Benjamin Crump, the lawyer for Floyd's family, called for a first-degree charge for Chauvin, which requires an intent to kill.
An official autopsy found no indication that Floyd died of strangulation or traumatic asphyxia, rather that he likely died of the combined effects of being restrained; underlying health conditions, including coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease; and potential intoxicants in his system. Floyd's family retained Michael Baden, a pathologist and a former New York City chief medical examiner who had also conducted a second autopsy on Eric Garner, to perform an independent examination in this case.
Memorials and protests
In the wake of community outrage in Minneapolis, the bus stop at the site of Floyd's death on Chicago Avenue became a makeshift memorial throughout May 26, with many placards paying tribute to him and referencing the Black Lives Matter movement. As the day progressed, more people showed up to demonstrate against Floyd's death. The crowd, estimated to be in the hundreds of people, then marched to the 3rd Precinct of the Minneapolis Police. Participants used posters and slogans with phrases such as "Justice for George", "I Can't Breathe", and "Black Lives Matter".
Although the protests on the first day were initially peaceful, a smaller group of protesters vandalized the 3rd Precinct, breaking a window, and also vandalized police cars. This led to police officers in riot gear using tear gas and flash grenades on the protesters, while some protesters threw rocks and other objects at the police. The police also used rubber bullets and smoke bombs against the protesters. The media has highlighted the apparent differences in aggression between the police response to black protesters in these protests versus the more measured response to the 2020 United States anti-lockdown protests featuring gun-wielding white protesters. This sentiment also spread on social media.
Following protests, a nighttime curfew in Minneapolis–Saint Paul and Dakota County was established on May 29. 500 Minnesota National Guard soldiers were later dispatched to the area to enforce the curfew, but to little effect, with about 1,000 protesters being able to march peacefully on Interstate 35 well into curfew.
Protests against police brutality and the death of George Floyd sprang up in more than 100 cities around the world including New York; Los Angeles; Toronto; Mashhad; Milan; Columbus, Ohio; Denver; Des Moines; Houston; Louisville; Memphis; Charlotte, North Carolina; Oakland; Portland, Oregon; San Jose; Seattle; outside the White House in Washington; outside Chauvin's summer home in Windermere, Florida; and in many other locations. On May 30, 12 states (including Minnesota) called up the National Guard, and at least 12 major cities imposed curfews on Saturday night.
Family and friends
Floyd's cousin and two brothers were interviewed by CNN. His cousin, Tera Brown, criticized the police, saying, "They were supposed to be there to serve and to protect and I didn't see a single one of them lift a finger to do anything to help while he was begging for his life." One of his brothers echoed the sentiment, saying, "They could have tased him; they could have maced him. Instead, they put their knee in his neck and just sat on him and then carried on. They treated him worse than they treat animals." Floyd's brother, Philonese, called for peace and said, "Everybody has a lot of pain right now, that's why this is happening, I'm tired of seeing black people dying."
Floyd's girlfriend, Courtney Ross, asked for the community to respond to his death in a way that honors him. She said: "You can't fight fire with fire. Everything just burns, and I've seen it all day – people hate, they're hating, they're hating, they're mad. And he would not want that."
The wife of Derek Chauvin, the officer who knelt on Floyd's neck, filed for divorce and offered her condolences to the Floyd family.
Minneapolis and Minnesota
Minneapolis City Councillor Andrea Jenkins, who represented Ward 8, where the incident occurred, was quoted as saying, "My heart is breaking for the tragic loss of life last night near 38th and Chicago. Our community continues to be traumatized again, and again and again. We must demand answers." Governor Tim Walz, in a press conference on the morning of May 29, said "we have to restore order" before actions can be taken to serve justice and address the issues which caused Floyd's death. Walz also announced that he had activated the National Guard. The day prior, Waltz used the National Guard to quell the unrest resulting from Floyd's death.
Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey said, "Being black in America should not be a death sentence. For five minutes, we watched a white officer press his knee into a black man's neck ... When you hear someone calling for help, you're supposed to help. This officer failed in the most basic, human sense." The day after Floyd's death, the Mayor called the termination of the responding officers "the right call". Two days after Floyd's death, Mayor Frey highlighted the racial nature of Floyd's death, and called for Chauvin to be criminally charged: "If most people, particularly people of color, had done what a police officer did late Monday, they'd already be behind bars. That's why today I'm calling on Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman to charge the arresting officer in this case." In an interview with CBS that evening, Frey was asked: "Do you think that was murder?" He replied: "I do."
Representative Ilhan Omar, of Minnesota's 5th congressional district (which includes Minneapolis), called for a federal investigation, saying, "It is sickening to watch this black man be killed while helplessly begging for help." She later added, "The police officer who killed George Floyd should be charged with murder." Senator Tina Smith and Governor Tim Walz also called for immediate action. Senator Amy Klobuchar reacted on the following day, saying, "We heard his repeated calls for help. We heard him say over and over again that he could not breathe. And now we have seen yet another horrifying and gut wrenching instance of an African American man dying." She called for the declaration on "a complete and thorough outside investigation into what occurred, and those involved in this incident must be held accountable". However, as a former Hennepin County attorney, she was criticized for declining to press criminal charges against police during her eight years in that office, including against Chauvin; some called for her resignation from the Senate.
President Donald Trump sent his condolences on Twitter, saying he requested the FBI to conduct a thorough investigation. He added, "My heart goes out to George's family and friends. Justice will be served!" Trump also described Floyd's death as "sad and tragic". He sparked controversy following the publication of a tweet that read, "These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won't let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!"
The British Labour Party's MPs Claudia Webbe and David Lammy, criticized the death of Floyd. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that racism was real and existed in both the United States and Canada. He then urged Canadians to stand up against it. Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, condemned it as yet another killing of unarmed African-Americans, called on the United States to take "serious action" and end the repeat of such killings.
Countries criticized by the United States for violations of human rights used the incident to criticize the U.S. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia said the United States had a history of systemic human rights abuse. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan blamed Floyd's death on a "racist and fascist approach" by the United States and said Turkey will be monitoring the issue. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran, retweeted a tweet saying people with dark skin faced being killed "in the next few minutes" if they walked out on American streets.
African Union officials, including the Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat, criticized the killing. American embassies in Africa also condemned the incident, in a move that was described by the media as unusual.
State and local
The local police union expressed support of the officers involved, saying, "The Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis will provide full support to the involved officers." They also urged the public to remain calm, saying, "Now is not the time to rush to judgement and immediately condemn our officers."
The Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association applauded Minneapolis Chief Arradondo's swift firing of the officers involved.
Police across the country were sharply critical of Chauvin's actions. Leaders from organizations which include hundreds of thousands of police officers condemned the conduct of the arrest. National Association of Police Organizations Executive Director William Johnson called the incident egregious, and said, "I don't know the entire story, but I can't see any legal justification, any self-defense justification, or any moral justification." Fraternal Order of Police President Patrick Yoes said authorities must ensure justice is served in Floyd's death, "whatever the consequences".
Police chief associations from across the country expressed dismay at Floyd's treatment. The heads of both the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and the Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA) condemned what was seen on the video. The MCCA, led by Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, said, "The death of Mr. Floyd is deeply disturbing and should be of concern to all Americans. The officer's actions are inconsistent with the training and protocols of our profession and MCCA commends Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo for his swift and decisive action to terminate the employment of the officers involved." The National Police Foundation President said, "These actions, and inaction, jeopardize the gains that have been made through the sacrifices and courage of many."
Leaders of individual police departments from around the United States spoke out against the officer at the center of the video, with what The Washington Post called "disgust", and the Los Angeles Times called "blunt criticism". The Los Angeles Times said: "It was a rare moment when police leaders were unequivocal in their public disdain for the conduct of one of their own." Leaders condemning the officer's actions included the New York City Police Commissioner, the Sheriffs of Los Angeles and San Diego counties, and the Police Chiefs of Los Angeles, Boston, Miami, Houston, and Austin, as well as a former Police Chief from Seattle. Police chiefs of smaller cities spoke out as well: Chiefs of Police from Buffalo Grove, Illinois; Tucson, Arizona; Round Rock, Texas; the University of Texas at Austin; Pflugerville, Texas; and Omaha, Nebraska, all issued statements against Floyd's treatment.
Experts on the use of force by police condemned Chauvin's actions. Mylan Masson, a longtime Minneapolis police officer and former director of the Hennepin Technical College's Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Center, which instructs approximately half of Minnesota's police officers, said a form of the technique seen in the video of Floyd's death was taught until at least 2016. He added: "Once the [officer] is in control, then you release. That's what use of force is: you use it 'til the threat has stopped." George Kirkham, a former police officer and professor emeritus at Florida State University's College of Criminology and Criminal Justice, said: "It was outrageous, excessive, unreasonable force under the circumstances. We're dealing with a [suspected] property offender. The man was prone on the ground. He was no threat to anyone." Seth Stoughton, an associate professor of law at the University of South Carolina, who was also a former police officer, stated that placing suspects lying face-down with their hands handcuffed behind their backs for a long period of time was dangerous because it risked positional asphyxia. If an officer places their knee on a suspect's neck in this position, it could cause injury or even death.
The University of Minnesota announced that it would be limiting ties with the Minneapolis Police Department, and would no longer contract the local police department for assistance at major events. Three members of the Minneapolis School Board will present a resolution at its next meeting on June 2 proposing to terminate its relationship with the Minneapolis Police Department.Template:Update after
- Human rights in the United States
- Police brutality in the United States
- List of killings by law enforcement officers in the United States
- Shooting of Tamir Rice (a 12 year old boy) by a Cleveland police officer in 2014
- Shooting of Jamar Clark by two Minneapolis police officers in 2015
- Shooting of Walter Scott by a North Charleston police officer in 2015
- Shooting of Alton Sterling by two Baton Rouge police officers in 2016
- Shooting of Philando Castile by a St. Anthony police officer in 2016
- Shooting of Justine Damond by a Minneapolis police officer in 2017
- "Timeline: Death of George Floyd, reactions and protests". May 27, 2020. https://www.fox9.com/news/timeline-death-of-george-floyd-reactions-and-protests.
- "Ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin charged with murder, manslaughter in George Floyd's death". May 30, 2020. https://q13fox.com/2020/05/29/ex-minneapolis-police-officer-derek-chauvin-charged-with-murder-manslaughter-in-george-floyds-death/.
- Murphy, Esme (May 26, 2020). "'I Can't Breathe!': Video Of Fatal Arrest Shows Minneapolis Officer Kneeling On George Floyd's Neck For Several Minutes". KSTP-TV. https://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2020/05/26/george-floyd-man-dies-after-being-arrested-by-minneapolis-police-fbi-called-to-investigate/. Retrieved May 26, 2020. "While lying facedown on the road, Floyd repeatedly groans and says he can't breathe."
- Varn, Kathryn (May 28, 2020). "Death of George Floyd draws quick condemnation from Tampa Bay's top cops". https://www.tampabay.com/news/crime/2020/05/28/death-of-george-floyd-draws-quick-condemnation-from-tampa-bays-top-cops/. "The video, recorded by a bystander, shows 46-year-old Floyd, who is black, face-down on the ground as a white officer kneeled on his neck."
- Brooks, Jennifer (May 28, 2020). "George Floyd and the city that killed him". https://www.startribune.com/brooks-george-floyd-and-the-city-that-killed-him/570818542/. "Down the road, people were marching and mourning Floyd, whose irreplaceable life ended after an arrest face-down on the asphalt of E. 38th Street."
- Silverman, Hollie (May 29, 2020). "Floyd was "non-responsive" for nearly 3 minutes before officer took knee off his neck, complaint says". https://www.cnn.com/us/live-news/george-floyd-protest-updates-05-28-20/h_d6de512e51a8858a57f93ffa732c2695. "Chauvin had his knee on Floyd's neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in total, and 2 minutes and 53 seconds after Floyd was unresponsive, the complaint said."
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|Historipedia has media related to: Death of George Floyd|
- Complaint – State of Minnesota v. Derek Michael Chauvin, Minnesota District Court, Fourth Judicial District, File No. 27-CR-20-12646. May 29, 2020.