On Monday, an unarmed black man named George Floyd was apprehended by police in Minneapolis. Police, including Officer Derek Chauvin, responded to a call of a “forgery in progress”. They found Floyd in his vehicle and, seeing that he matched a description they were given, arrested him. According to police, he resisted arrest. However, footage taken by bystanders shows the police keeping Floyd pinned to the ground, but does not show him resisting.
While pinned by Officer Chauvin, who is seen driving his knee into Floyd’s neck, he can be heard calling out “I can’t breathe!” and calling for his mother. The video, which is difficult to watch, shows Floyd struggling to breathe while Chauvin continues pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck. Bystanders plead with the officers, noting that after a few minutes, Floyd is completely unresponsive.
Immediate, widespread outrage over Floyd’s death resulted in four of the officers involved being fired. These include Derek Chauvin, who can be seen in the video pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck for several minutes. Floyd’s lawyer, Ben Crump, has called for the arrest of the officers involved. His sister, Bridgett Floyd, bluntly stated “They murdered my brother”.
Bridgett, speaking to reporters, elaborated. “I would like for those officers to be charged with murder because that’s exactly what they did. They murdered my brother; he was crying for help”. Minneapolis’ mayor, Jacob Frey, expressed his disappointment and outrage with the police department. Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar also condemned the police’s actions.
On Tuesday night, protests against police brutality broke out in Minneapolis. While witnesses state the protest started peaceful, it escalated as the night went on. Soon, protesters vandalized a police squad car and sprayed graffiti on nearby buildings. Police responded by firing tear gas canisters into the crowd. The crowd flung rocks and bottles back at the police, resulting in a chaotic scene.
Some of the protesters broke off into nearby businesses to avoid the police. At one point, protesters were holed up in a nearby Target store, using shopping carts as a makeshift barricade. Over time, the protests dwindled, until they were all but gone by 9 PM.
Outrage on social media over Floyd’s death continued through Wednesday. Numerous politicians and public figures have called for the arrest of the officers involved in Floyd’s death. The FBI has announced they will be part of the official investigation.