How the George Floyd case sparked violent protests across US
The death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, has sparked protests across the United States. Floyd died after a white cop knelt on his neck for several minutes during an arrest in Minneapolis. The incident sparked violent protests in Minneapolis that have since spread to other cities with reports of vandalism, arson, looting, tear gas shelling, etc. Here's all you need to know.
What happened to George Floyd?
On Monday night, an employee at a Cup Foods convenience store called the police that a customer (Floyd) had used a fake $20 banknote to buy cigarettes. The police reached the spot and officer Derek Chauvin pinned Floyd to the ground and knelt on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds, two minutes, and 43 seconds of which Floyd was unresponsive.
'I can't breathe'; Floyd's last moments went viral
Onlookers filmed the incident as they pleaded with the officer to get off Floyd's neck. The officer continued to kneel over Floyd who repeatedly complained "I can't breathe" and "Don't kill me" before becoming unconscious. The police claimed Floyd had resisted arrest, however, surveillance footage from the scene seems to contradict these claims. Floyd was declared dead at a hospital a short time later.
Video went viral sparking widespread uproar against anti-Black sentiment
The graphic video went viral on social media sparking uproar on Tuesday. Chauvin and three other officers—Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, and J Alexander Kueng—were fired from the police department on Tuesday. However, this failed to silence protests as Floyd's death is just one among many incidents of violence and police brutality disproportionately targeted towards the Black community.
Protests started in Minneapolis; grew in number and intensity
Thousands had gathered to protest in Minneapolis on Tuesday and the numbers have since grown. In Minneapolis, protesters gathered outside the police department's Third Precinct, raising slogans and pelting stones. The protests have also transitioned into rioting and looting as they spread to other cities. The police have responded to the protests with tear gas, rubber bullets, stun grenades, etc.
Protest staged outside White House; curfews violated
As the protests continued to spread nationwide, hundreds on Friday gathered outside the White House—that was briefly locked down—to stage a demonstration. Curfews were ordered for the Twin Cities of Minneapolis-Saint Paul on Friday and Saturday evening, however, the protesters continued to defy them. A Black and Latino CNN crew member, Omar Jimenez, was arrested in Minneapolis while giving a live television report.
Chauvin arrested; charged with third-degree murder, second-degree manslaughter
Chauvin (44) was arrested on Friday afternoon on charges of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Floyd's family welcomed the step, however, demanded a first-degree murder charge. This would require the prosecution to prove that Chauvin's actions were willful and premeditated. Floyd and Chauvin had worked together for more than 17 years as bouncers at the 'El Nuevo Rodeo' club.
What has US President Donald Trump said?
In a Thursday tweet, United States President Donald Trump called those protesting against Floyd's death "thugs"—a controversial term considered a racial slur by many. Trump on Friday described Floyd's death as a "terrible, terrible thing" and said that he had spoken to the deceased's family. He said, "Looters should not be allowed to drown out the voices of so many peaceful protesters."
Military police units on standby: Report
This is the worst unrest the US has seen in recent years. According to the Associated Press, sources said that the Pentagon has ordered the army to put military police units on alert to be deployed in Minneapolis on short notice at Trump's request.
Chauvin could face up to 25 years in prison
If convicted, Chauvin could face up to 25 years in prison. An investigation into the case is underway and Chauvin is due to appear in court in Minneapolis for the first time on Monday. Reportedly, Chauvin has opened fire on two people during his 19-year career and has a total of 18 prior conduct complaints against him. Two such complaints resulted in reprimands.