People all over the world are remembering George Floyd. Floyd died last May in Minneapolis. Former police officer Derek Chauvin pinned Floyd to the ground with his knee for almost eight minutes.
On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota, while being arrested for allegedly using a counterfeit bill. During the arrest Derek Chauvin, a white police officer with the Minneapolis Police Department, knelt on Floyd's neck for eight minutes after he was already handcuffed and lying face down.
Two police officers, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane, assisted Chauvin in restraining Floyd, while a further officer Tou Thao prevented bystanders from interfering with the arrest and intervening as events unfolded.
Floyd had complained about being unable to breathe prior to being on the ground, but after being restrained he became more distressed, and continued to complain about breathing difficulties, the knee in his neck, and expressed the fear he was about to die and called for his mother. After several minutes passed Floyd stopped speaking. For a further two minutes, he lay motionless and officer Kueng found no pulse when urged to check. Despite this Chauvin refused pleas to lift his knee until medics told him to.
The following day, after videos made by witnesses and security cameras became public, all four officers were dismissed. Two autopsies found Floyd's death to be a homicide. Chauvin was initially charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, to which was later added second-degree murder. The three other officers were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.
Floyd's death triggered worldwide protests against police brutality, police racism, and lack of police accountability. In early June, the Minneapolis City Council voted an intent to restructure the police department as a "new community-based system of public safety". The Minneapolis Police Chief cancelled contract negotiations with the police union and announced plans to bring in outside experts to examine how the union contract can be restructured to provide transparency and "flexibility for true reform".
George Floyd had been living in Minneapolis for several years after moving there from his native Houston, Texas. He had recently been working as a bouncer in the city but, like millions of other Americans, was left jobless by the coronavirus pandemic.