Warning: This video contains violent and disturbing content.
George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man from Minnesota, was viciously murdered on Memorial Day, May 25th, by four white Minneapolis police officers, including Officer Derek Chauvin, who responded aggressively to a call of alleged forgery, drawing attention to police brutality and racial issues that continue to thrive in the United States.
** UPDATE June 1st: Chauvin has since been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter just days after the incident, and it is expected that the remaining three officers will also face charges.
** UPDATE June 3rd: Chauvin’s charges have been upgraded to murder in the second degree. The other officers on scene the day of the incident, including Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng, have been fired and charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
On Memorial Day, police were called to the scene of “Cup Foods,” a small grocery store, after Floyd allegedly tried to make a purchase with a counterfeit $20 bill.
According to a surveillance tape from a nearby restaurant, when the police arrive, Floyd is sitting in a minivan close to the store with two other passengers. After a brief struggle with authorities, Floyd exits the vehicle and is immediately detained. He begins talking with police, but shows no signs of resisting.
Soon after, police pull him to the side of the street as another patrol car rolls up to the scene.
What follows is uncertain, but in a quick instant, Floyd falls to the ground.
According to bystander Darnella Frazier’s video recording, Chauvin places his knee on the neck of Floyd, applying noticeable pressure as Floyd’s face is pressed hard against the road.
Floyd begins crying out at least 14 times that he is having difficultly breathing, to which Chauvin ignores and begins to taunt Floyd, yelling at him to “Get in the car!” all while he continues to detain the man by his neck.
Within his 19 years on the police force, Chauvin has received 10 conduct complaints, however never faced disciplinary action.
Floyd continues to beg, promising he will get into the police car if Chauvin stops.
However, after three minutes, Floyd goes silent.
The police attempted to claim that Floyd died after he “suffered a medical episode while struggling with officers,” but luckily witness videos proved otherwise.
The day after the incident, President Donald J. Trump promised that he would make all efforts to expedite the case to bring justice to Floyd.
Soon after, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, announced at a press conference with Police Chief Maderia Arradondo that all of the officers involved were fired.
On Thursday, Frey addressed the elephant-in-the-room by expressing his belief that Floyd “would be alive today if he were white.”
* Just four days after the incident, Attorney Micahel Freeman announced that Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
Freeman further emphasized that such a case typically takes up to a year to prosecute, however this case did not even rest for one full week.
On June 3rd, Chauvin’s charge was changed to consist of second-degree murder. *
Since the altercation, many figures have shown deep concerns over this issue, and what it says about the current state of our country.
Former president of the United States, Barack Obama, released a letter on Twitter regarding the incident. He elaborated on his belief that instances of police brutality and racial issues “shouldn’t be ‘normal’ in 2020 America. It can’t be ‘normal.’ If we want our children to grow up in a nation that lives up to the highest ideals, we can and must be better.”
Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, revealed during one of his daily coronavirus briefings that the situation was very frightening.
Cuomo stated on Twitter: “The death of George Floyd is not an isolated incident. It is part of a continuum of outrage and inequality. That is the reason for the rage, the frustration, the anger and the fear. The demand is for Justice. Over and over and over again.”
NFL superstar, Colin Kaepernick, who has spoken out regarding police brutality and racial issues in the past, felt strongly about the situation.
On Twitter, the pro-athlete wrote: “When civility leads to death, revolting is the only logical reaction. The cries for peace will rain down, and when they do, they will land on deaf ears, because your violence has brought this resistance. We have the right the fight back! Rest in Power Geroge Floyd”
In response, NBA legend LeBron James posted on Instagram an image of Officer Cauvin kneeling on Floyd, compared to Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem.
He captioned the image: “Do you understand NOW!!??!!?? Or is it still blurred to you?? #StayWoke”
All around the country, an ongoing social media movement has also sparked to bring awareness to the injustices at play.
Many have posted pictures of Floyd, quotes along the lines of “I can’t breathe,” and posts prompting awareness toward racism and police brutality.
However, others have chosen that peaceful protests do not provide substantial change.
Cities all over the nation, including in Minneapolis, Denver, and New York, have experienced traumatic protests and chaos in the streets.
Fires have been set to stores and restaurants, houses have been burned, people killed, and danger throughout the country.
To contain the madness, the National Guard has continued to deploy soldiers to these hotspots, hoping to restore peace and order to the nation.