On May 25, 2020, at approximately 8 p.m., George Floyd went into a convenience store in Minneapolis, Minn. to buy cigarettes. He was pronounced dead at 9:25 p.m. by the medical examiner.
The convenience store employee called the police and claimed Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, used a counterfeit $20 to purchase the cigarettes.
When the police arrived, Floyd was handcuffed and pinned to the ground under the knee of a white police officer for more than nine minutes.
The encounter between Floyd and the Minneapolis police was caught on video. It sparked several nights of protests against police brutality and systemic racism in Minneapolis.
The protests spread to over 150 American cities and around the world in the weeks and months that followed.
Four Minneapolis police officers Derek Chauvin, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao, were all fired the day after Floyd’s death.
Chauvin, who was seen in the video pinning Floyd’s neck with his knee, was charged with second-degree manslaughter and second-degree murder.
The other officers Kueng, Lane, and Thao, were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder, and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
Chauvin’s trial begins on March 8, 2021 with jury selection. Prosecutors must begin to present their case by March 29.
The trial of the other three officers begins on Aug. 23, 2021.
A judge split the trials due to physical space limitations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Floyd’s family has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the city of Minneapolis and the four officers.
SOURCES: APNEWS.COM, THEGUARDIAN.COM, NYTIMES.COM