By Prudence Minayo
On May 25, George Floyd was just another citizen in the USA known to only his family, friends and acquaintances. Today, people from different parts of the world know him and many are angered at the way his life came to a brutal end in the hands-sorry, knee-of an overzealous police officer.
Police brutality is rampant in most parts of the world, and the United States seems to be an exception especially when it comes to black people. If only, they had handled the situation differently, then perhaps he’d still be here, a child is left fatherless and a family emotionally wounded for their loved one is no more. Probably, what hurts the most is that it was so sudden and could have been avoided. Apart from being a black American, who is George Floyd and what led to his death?
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George was 46 years old at the time of his death.
According to Wikipedia George is a father of two girls aged 6 and 22. He also has three siblings, Bridgette, Terrence and Philonise.
The 46-year-old went to Yates high school and played football and basketball. He then proceeded to South Florida Community College and played in the basketball team.
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He was once part of a hip hop group called Screwed Up Click and went under the name Big Floyd.
In 2014, he relocated to Minnesota in search of employment and a new start. He worked as a truck driver and security guard at a restaurant. Unfortunately like many others around the world, he lost his job in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic.
On 25th May 2020, he was arrested for allegedly handing out a counterfeit 20 dollar bill. A police officer strangled him to death by pressing his knee against the neck. According to the Minnesota law, such kind of restraints are allowed when the suspect is resisting arrest which is what the police officers claimed at first.
However, onlookers claim that after he went down, he started complaining that he can’t breathe. The police officer known as Derek Chauvin was urged by passers-by to stop the restraint since he had already surrendered but he didn’t listen. His three colleagues (officers) just looked on as the incident happened. Finally, with the police knee on his neck, Floyd became unconscious after saying he couldn’t breath a number of times. According to the onlookers, Chauvin still kept his knee on the neck until the ambulance arrived and paramedics told him to lift it. An unconscious Floyd was put on a stretcher as the ambulance proceeded to Hennepin Medical Center where the patient was declared dead at 9:25 p.m.
This sparked nationwide protests and all the officers were fired the next day while Mr. Chauvin was arrested and charged with third degree murder and second degree manslaughter.
Two autopsies were conducted and his death ruled as homicide. The Hennepin county medical examiner report indicated the victim had died from cardiac arrest as a result of neck compression. The report also shows that he had heart disease, fentanyl intoxication and methamphetamine use, but these are not listed as the cause of death. The autopsy done by the family indicated he died from mechanical asphyxia caused by pressure sustained after being pinned down by his neck and back.
Arrest Of Officers Involved In The Gruesome Murder
Derek Chauvin faces up to 40 years behind bars for second degree murder and abetting pressing his neck on Floyd’s neck leading to his death. The other former Minneapolis Police officers-Thomas Lane 37, Alexander Kueng 26 and Tou Thao 34 have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter and face up to 10 years in prison for their crimes.
Statewide Protests Marked By Looting
The protests that followed the death of Floyd were unprecedented in recent history. Looters had a field day. Police were overwhelmed as arsonists set ablaze shops and cars. The Minneapolis 3rd Precinct station was overrun forcing officers to make a tactical retreat. The protesters faulted law enforcers for targeting blacks. Other countries took part in the protest with as the #floydgeorge trended on twitter. Even Kenyans, who have one of the worst police forces in the world, condemned the killing.
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