Today's Articles

People, Locations, Episodes

Mon, 05.25.2020

George Floyd is Murdered by a Minneapolis Policeman

*On this date in 2020, George Floyd was murdered by Derek Chauvin of the Minneapolis police department, Floyd was Black, and Chauvin was white. 

The combined arresting officers were Derek Chauvin (18 police conduct complaints), Tou Thao (6 police conduct complaints), Thomas Lane, and J. Alexander Kueng. (no police conduct complaints).   Floyd purchased a pack of cigarettes at Cup Foods, a store at the intersection of East 38th Street and Chicago Avenue in the Powderhorn Park neighborhood of Minneapolis.  

A store employee believed Floyd had paid with a counterfeit $20 bill.  Just before 8:00 p.m., two Cup Foods employees left the store and crossed the street to an SUV parked in front of a restaurant. Floyd was in the driver's seat, and two adult passengers were in the vehicle.  The employees demanded that Floyd return the cigarettes, and he refused. The interaction was filmed by the restaurant's security camera.  

At 8:01 p.m., a store employee called 9-1-1 to report that Floyd had passed "fake bills" and was "awfully drunk" and "not in control of himself."   At 8:08 p.m., officers Lane and Kueng briefly entered Cup Foods, then crossed the street to Floyd's SUV. Lane drew his gun and ordered Floyd to put his hands on the steering wheel; Floyd complied, and Lane holstered his weapon. Someone parked behind Floyd's SUV began recording a video at 8:10 p.m. Following a brief struggle, Lane pulled Floyd from the SUV, handcuffed him, and told him he was being arrested.  At 8:12 p.m., Kueng sat Floyd on the sidewalk against the wall in front of Cup Foods.  

At 8:13 p.m., an officer brought Floyd to his feet and walked him across the street to the sidewalk in front of Cup Foods. Floyd fell to the ground next to a police car parked at the curb; officers picked him up and placed him against the car's door. According to prosecutors, Floyd told the officers he was claustrophobic and couldn't breathe. A Minneapolis Park and Recreation police officer arrived and guarded Floyd's vehicle (across the street by the restaurant) and the two people who had been in it with Floyd.

 At 8:17 p.m., a third police cruiser arrived, with MPD officers Derek Chauvin and Tou Thao. They walked over to assist Lane and Kueng.  Around 8:18 p.m., security footage from Cup Foods shows Kueng struggling with Floyd for at least a minute in the driver's side backseat while Thao watches. A criminal complaint filed against Chauvin alleges Floyd refused to enter the car, even after officers moved him from the driver's side to the passenger side.  At 8:19 p.m., standing on the passenger's side of the vehicle, Chauvin pulled Floyd through the backseat, from the driver's side to the passenger's side, and out of the car, causing Floyd to fall onto the ground, where, still handcuffed, he lay on the pavement.  Floyd stopped moving around 8:20 p.m.   

A number of witnesses began to film the encounter; their videos were circulated widely on the internet. At 8:20 p.m., a bystander at the Speedway gas station across the intersection began recording video on their phone showing Floyd face down on the pavement with Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck, Kueng applying pressure to Floyd's torso, and Lane applying pressure to Floyd's legs, while Thao stood nearby.  Floyd can be heard repeatedly saying "I can't breathe", "please, please, please", and "please, man", and calling for his mother.  The bystander stopped filming when one of the officers told him to walk away.  Also, at 8:20 p.m., a second person, standing near the entrance of Cup Foods, began recording the incident.  According to The New York Times, these two videos show Floyd telling officers he can't breathe at least 16 times in less than five minutes.  

At one point a bystander said, "You got him down. Let him breathe." After Floyd said, "I'm about to die," Chauvin told him to "relax". The police ask Floyd, "What do you want?"; Floyd answered, "I can't breathe." Floyd states: "Please, the knee in my neck, I can't breathe."  At approximately 8:22 p.m., the officers called for an ambulance, initially on a non-emergency basis; they later escalated the call to emergency status. Chauvin continued to kneel on Floyd's neck. A passerby yelled to Floyd, "Well, get up, get in the car, man," and Floyd, still handcuffed and face down on the pavement, responded, "I can't," while Chauvin's knee remained on his neck.  Floyd cried out, "Mama!" twice.  Floyd said, "My stomach hurts, my neck hurts, everything hurts", requested water, and begged, "Don't kill me." Thao countered that Floyd was "talking, he's fine", a bystander replied that Floyd "ain't fine".   

The bystander protested, "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." (Chauvin's hand appeared to be in his pocket, but in fact, his gloved hand was resting on the leg of his trousers, which were similarly colored to his gloves.) As Floyd continued to cry for help, Thao said to bystanders, "This is why you don’t do drugs, kids."  By 8:25 p.m., Floyd appeared unconscious, and bystanders confronted the officers about Floyd's condition, urging them to check his pulse.  Kueng checked Floyd's wrist but could not find a pulse; the officers did not move. The officers did not attempt to provide Floyd with any medical treatment. According to the criminal complaint against Chauvin, Lane asked Chauvin twice if they should move Floyd onto his side, and Chauvin said no.  Two minutes later, a Hennepin County ambulance arrived.  Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd's neck for almost a minute after the EMTs arrived, despite Floyd appearing unresponsive.

Around 8:28 p.m., after being told to do so by EMTs, Chauvin lifted his knee off of Floyd's neck, having kept it there for eight minutes and forty-six seconds, according to the criminal complaint against Chauvin.  Around 8:29 p.m., a motionless Floyd was placed on a stretcher and loaded into the ambulance, which left the scene and headed to Hennepin County Medical Center, calling the Minneapolis Fire Department for additional medical assistance.  At 8:32 p.m., the fire department arrived at the scene.  Meanwhile, the ambulance carrying Floyd again called for assistance from the fire department, asking them to meet at the corner of 36th Street and Park Avenue, and reporting that Floyd was going into cardiac arrest. Five minutes later, the fire department reached the ambulance. Two fire department medics who boarded the ambulance described Floyd in their report as unresponsive and pulseless. George Floyd was pronounced dead at 9:25 p.m. at the Hennepin County Medical Center emergency room.  

The murder sparked a response from Black Lives Matter and other protests and renewed ongoing demonstrations against police brutality in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metropolitan area, leading to citywide and regional curfews. Demonstrations also spread throughout the United States and globally. On April 20, 2021, Derek Chauvin was convicted of two counts of murder and one count of manslaughter for the death of George Floyd.

New Poem Each Day

Poetry Corner

We gotta put more in our children’s heads than gold teeth, to keep blackness to keep blackness to always keep it from turning around. america’s got all kinds... SURVIVAL MOTION: NOTICE by Melvin E. Brown.
Read More