The death of George Floyd an unarmed Black man, after an interaction with police has brought racial injustice concerns in the United States to a boiling point.
The 46-year-old man died after being arrested by police outside a store in Minneapolis, Minn.
His arrest was captured on cellphone video, showing a white police office kneeling on Floyd’s neck for several minutes while he was pinned to the ground. The video led to widespread rage across the country, spurring protests, which sometimes included looting and vandalism.
Derek Chauvin, 44, the white police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck in the video, was charged Friday with third-degree murder and manslaughter as the protests proliferated.
Issue and arrest
The ordeal started with what was believed to be a counterfeit $20 bill.
On May 25, Floyd visited Cup Foods grocery store in Minneapolis to buy a pack of cigarettes. A store employee believed the bill he used to be counterfeit and reported it to the police.
The store owner, Mike Abumayyaleh, told NBC that he was not at work the day of the incident but that his employees told him that Floyd initially came into the store with a man and a woman. The man tried to use what an employee suspected was a fake bill, which the employee caught and gave back to the man. Abumayyaleh said Floyd returned to the store about 10 minutes later and tried to use a suspicious $20 bill to make a purchase. The employee didn’t realize at first, according to Abumayyaleh, but when they did, they followed protocol and called police.
In a call to 911, the employee told the operator that he asked Floyd for the cigarettes back but “he doesn’t want to do that,” an Official transcript reads. The employee also claimed Floyd was “awfully drunk” and “not in control of himself.”
Floyd was near the store, sitting in a car with two other people, when the police arrived.
The officers involved were responding to a report of a forgery in progress, according to a police department account. Once at the store, they found a man fitting the suspect’s description, Floyd, sitting in a car. The police department said a physical altercation between the officers and Floyd unfolded after Floyd got out of the car.
When the officers approached the car, one of them, Thomas Lane, began speaking with Floyd, according to a statement from prosecutors.
“He pulled his gun out and pointed it at Mr. Floyd’s open window and directed Mr. Floyd to show his hands,” it reads. There is no reason stated for why the officer brandished his weapon.
The prosecutors say Lane put the gun away once Floyd put his hands on the steering wheel but “put his hands on Mr. Floyd, and pulled him out of the car” when he ordered him to step out. Floyd then “actively resisted being handcuffed,” the statement reads. When the officers tried to bring Floyd to their cruiser, he “stiffened up, fell to the ground, and told the officers he was claustrophobic,” the report states.
The police account has come in contrast with at least one witness account and surveillance video obtained by CNN. The case is still under investigation.
Chauvin arrived on the scene shortly after to help the officers in getting Floyd into the police cruiser. The report said Chauvin pulled Floyd out of the vehicle, causing him to fall to the ground.
He laid on the ground “face down and still handcuffed.” That’s when onlookers began to record cellphone videos.
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