On May 25, 2020, Minneapolis police received a phone call from a local food store reporting a forgery in progress.
Cup Foods, a deli on the corner of 38th and Chicago in the downtown Powderhorn community, reported two individuals attempting to pay for goods with a counterfeit $20 bill.
Surveillance footage shows two officers, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng, arriving at the scene at around 8:08 AM and approaching a static vehicle with three individuals inside. In the video, the officers’ approach either side of the car and remove two of the occupants, one of whom is 46-year-old George Floyd, a North Carolina native and father of two. A criminal complaint details that officer Lane withdrew his gun and aimed it at Floyd but returned the firearm to its holster when Floyd complied by putting his hands on the wheel.
(Videos can be viewed HERE<<)
Floyd appears to panic and resist briefly for a second or two but within a minute he is clearly shown sitting on the sidewalk against a wall with his hands cuffed behind his back. The responding officers pull him to a standing position and march him to their cruiser, which is parked just a few meters away down the street.
“I’m claustrophobic” he tells them.
Floyd stumbles near the sidewalk and falls to the ground before being pulled back up into a standing position and leaned against the side of the vehicle.
Backup arrives around 15 minutes later, in the form of two more officers, Derek Chauvin and Tou Thao. As they pull onto the scene their vehicle obscures the view but a video from another angle shows an officer attempting to force Floyd into the cruiser as he struggles and eventually ends up on the ground.
This is the moment a bystander witnessing the arrest begins to film the exchange on her smart phone. At 08:20 AM Darnella Frazier began to record what would turn out to be a viral video depicting the death of George Floyd at the hands of an officer who used lethal force against him despite his pleas.
Frazier’s video shows Derek Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd’s neck as he lays face down on the pavement groaning and complaining of pain in his neck and body, telling the officer that he can’t breathe.
Chauvin keeps his knee on Floyd’s neck for almost 9 minutes, the first 3 minutes and 9 seconds of which Floyd begs for his life and states multiple times that he is in pain and cannot breathe.
After several minutes Floyd becomes unresponsive.
A video shot from another angle shows two other officers restraining Floyd from behind the cruiser. From the footage it appears that Officer Keung is keeping the suspect face down by applying pressure to his back while Lane holds his legs. Chauvin is shown applying pressure with his knee to Floyd’s neck and head, a prone position of restraint that is considered dangerous.
“Well get up then” Chauvin says to Floyd, who responds that he can’t.
“I can’t breathe” Floyd is heard repeatedly saying in the video. “Mama” he calls out at one point. “I’m gonna die”.
Officer Lane asks if they should put Floyd on his side, but Chauvin rejects the suggestion and maintains his position, keeping his knee on Floyd's neck for a total of 8 minutes 43 seconds.
Bystanders ask the officer to remove his knee and tell them Floyd cannot breathe, but their concerns and requests are ignored.
Lane again states that he wants to roll Floyd onto his side, but Chauvin again rejects the proposal. Officer Keung checks for a pulse only to discover that there is not one, and Chauvin eventually removes his knee from Floyd’s neck at 08:27AM.
George Floyd was later pronounced dead.
A preliminary autopsy performed by Hennepin County Medical Examiner's office, the details of which were released May 26, 2020, stated that findings implied strangulation and traumatic asphyxia were not the cause of Floyd’s death. Instead “underlying health conditions” (coronary heart disease and hypertensive heart disease) and “potential toxins in Floyd’s system” coupled with the police actions that day “likely contributed to his death”.
Several hours ago, the BBC released an article detailing the results of a new autopsy performed privately by medical examiners sought out and paid for by the victim’s family. According to the Floyd family’s legal team, this examination of the victim revealed Floyd died of asphyxia due to the actions of the police restraining him at the time of his arrest and that the death was considered a homicide.
Regardless of any underlying health conditions the consensus is that George Floyd would not be dead today if the officers had not restrained the unarmed man and applied pressure to his neck and back for almost 9 minutes straight.
A criminal complaint form, which can be read in its entirety here, details the charges against Chauvin, including Murder, 3rd degree- perpetrating eminently dangerous act and evincing a depraved mind. The description states Chauvin caused the death of Mr. Floyd by "perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind, without regard for human life".
The second charge detailed manslaughter in the 2nd degree and culpable negligence creating unreasonable risk, "creating an unreasonable risk and taking a chance of causing death or great bodily harm to George Floyd."
All officers involved have been fired.
The incident sparked protests around the U.S and outrage around the world that an unarmed black man could be murdered in broad daylight by a white officer over a fake $20 bill.
Only last month Ahmaud Arbery was murdered by two armed white men, one an ex-officer, while jogging in the street.
This article in the independent lists various organisations for donations HERE <<