On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, 46-year-old black man, was killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota, while being arrested for allegedly using a counterfeit bill. During the arrest, Derek Chauvin, a white police officer with the Minneapolis Police Department, knelt on Floyd’s neck for about nine and a half minutes[a] after he was handcuffed and lying face down. Two police officers, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane assisted Chauvin in restraining Floyd, while another officer, Tou Thao, prevented bystanders from interfering with the arrest and intervening as events unfolded.
Floyd had complained about being unable to breathe prior to being on the ground, but after being restrained he became more distressed, and continued to complain about breathing difficulties, the knee in his neck, and expressed the fear he was about to die and called for his mother. After several minutes passed Floyd stopped speaking. For a further two minutes, he lay motionless and officer Kueng found no pulse when urged to check. Despite this Chauvin refused pleas to lift his knee until medics told him to.
The following day, after videos made by witnesses and security cameras, became public all four officers were dismissed. Two autopsies found Floyd’s death to be a homicide. Chauvin is charged with second-degree unintentional murder and second-degree manslaughter. Kueng, Lane, and Thao are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder. Chauvin’s trial is scheduled for March 8, 2021, while the concurrent trial of the other three officers is scheduled for August 23, 2021.
Floyd’s death triggered worldwide protests against police brutality, police racism, and lack of police accountability. In early June, the Minneapolis City Council voted an intent to restructure the police department as a “new community-based system of public safety”.However, the city council’s proposal, which became subject to an indefinite review by the Minneapolis City Charter Commission, failed to make the 2020 general ballot. The Minneapolis Police Chief canceled contract negotiations with the police union and announced plans to bring in outside experts to examine how the union contract can be restructured to provide transparency and “flexibility for true reform”.
We demand that Derek Chauvin be charged with and convicted of murder.
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