African-American man murdered by police in 2020
This article is about the man murdered during a police arrest. For other uses, see George Floyd (disambiguation).
Floyd in 2016
George Perry Floyd Jr.
(1973-10-14)October 14, 1973
Fayetteville, North Carolina, U.S.
|Died||May 25, 2020(2020-05-25) (aged 46)|
Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
|Cause of death||Murder (Cardiopulmonary arrest due to neck compression)|
|Resting place||Houston Memorial Gardens, Pearland, Texas, U.S.|
|Other names||Big Floyd|
|Known for||Circumstances of his death|
George Perry Floyd Jr. (October 14, 1973 – May 25, 2020) was an African-American man who was murdered by a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, during an arrest after a store clerk suspected Floyd may have used a counterfeit$20 bill.Derek Chauvin, one of four police officers who arrived on the scene, knelt on Floyd's neck and back for 9 minutes and 29 seconds. After his death, protests against police brutality, especially towards black people, quickly spread across the United States and globally. His dying words, "I can't breathe," became a rallying cry.
Born in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Floyd grew up in Houston, Texas, playing football and basketball throughout high school and college. He served as a mentor in his religious community. Between 1997 and 2005, he was convicted of eight crimes. He served four years in prison after accepting a plea bargain for a 2007 aggravated robbery in a home invasion. In 2014, he moved to the Minneapolis area, residing in the nearby suburb of St. Louis Park, and worked as a truck driver and bouncer. In 2020, he lost his job as a truck driver, and then his security job during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The City of Minneapolis settled a wrongful death lawsuit with Floyd's family for $27 million. Chauvin was convicted on two counts of murder and one count of manslaughter on April 20, 2021 and on June 25, 2021 was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison. The trial of the other three officers at the scene of his death is scheduled to begin on March 7, 2022.
Floyd was born on October 14, 1973, in Fayetteville, North Carolina, to George Perry and Larcenia "Cissy" Jones Floyd. He had four siblings. His great-great-grandfather Hillery Thomas Stewart Sr. was born as a slave but acquired his freedom in the Civil War; while Stewart was in his 20s, he acquired 500 acres (200 ha) of land but lost it to white farmers who used legally questionable maneuvers that were common at the time in the South.
When he was two, after Floyd's parents separated, his mother moved with the children to the Cuney Homes public housing, known as Bricks, in Houston's Third Ward, a historically African-American neighborhood. Floyd was called Perry as a child, but also Big Floyd; being over six feet (183 cm) tall in middle school, he saw sports as a vehicle for improving his life.
Floyd attended Ryan Middle School, and graduated from Yates High School in 1993. While at Yates, he was co-captain of the basketball team playing as a power forward. He was also on the football team as a tight end, and in 1992, his team went to the Texas state championships.
The first of his siblings to go to college, Floyd attended South Florida Community College for two years on a football scholarship, and also played on the basketball team. He transferred to Texas A&M University–Kingsville in 1995, where he also played basketball before dropping out. At his tallest he was 6 feet 6 inches (198 cm) and by the time of his autopsy he was 6 feet 4 inches (193 cm) tall and weighed 223 pounds (101 kg).
Floyd returned to Houston from college in Kingsville, Texas, in 1995 and became an automotive customizer and played club basketball. Beginning in 1994, he performed as a rapper using the stage name Big Floyd in the hip-hop group Screwed Up Click.The New York Times described his deep-voiced rhymes as "purposeful", delivered in a slow-motion clip about "'choppin' blades' – driving cars with oversize rims – and his Third Ward pride." The second rap group he was involved in was "Presidential Playas" and he worked on their album Block Party released in 2000. An influential member of his community, Floyd was respected for his ability to relate with others in his environment based on a shared experience of hardships and setbacks, having served time in prison and living in a poverty-stricken project in Houston. In a video addressing the youth in his neighborhood, Floyd reminds his audience that he has his own "shortcomings" and "flaws" and that he is not better than anyone else, but also expresses his disdain for the violence that was taking place in the community, and advises his neighbors to put down their weapons and remember that they are loved by him and God.
Between 1997 and 2005, Floyd served eight jail terms on various charges, including drug possession, theft, and trespass. In one of these cases the arresting officer was later investigated for a pattern of falsifying evidence, related to the Pecan Park raid, leading the District Attorney of Harris County, Texas, to request a posthumous pardon for Floyd in 2021. In 2007, Floyd faced charges for aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon; according to investigators, he had entered an apartment by impersonating a water department worker and barging in with five other men, then held a pistol to a woman's stomach and searched for items to steal. Floyd was arrested three months later during a traffic stop, and a seven-year-old victim of the robbery identified him from a photo array. In 2009, Floyd was sentenced to five years in prison as part of a plea deal, and was paroled in January 2013. After his release, Floyd became more involved with Resurrection Houston, a Christian church and ministry, where he mentored young men and posted anti-violence videos to social media. He delivered meals to senior citizens and volunteered with other projects, such as the Angel By Nature Foundation, a charity founded by rapper Trae tha Truth. Later, Floyd became involved with a ministry that brought men from the Third Ward to Minnesota in a church-work program with drug rehabilitation and job placement services. A friend of his acknowledged that Floyd "had made some mistakes that cost him some years of his life." but that he had been turning his life around through religion.
In 2014, Floyd moved to Minneapolis to help rebuild his life and find work. Soon after his arrival, he completed a 90-day rehabilitation program at the Turning Point program in north Minneapolis. Floyd expressed the need for a job and took up security work at Harbor Light Center, a Salvation Army homeless shelter. He lost the job at Harbor Light and took several other jobs. Floyd hoped to earn a commercial driver's license to operate trucks. He passed the required drug test and administrators of the program felt his criminal past did not pose a problem, but he dropped out as his job at a nightclub made it difficult to attend morning classes, and he felt pressure to earn money. Floyd later moved to St. Louis Park and lived with former colleagues. Floyd continued to battle drug addiction and went through periods of use and sobriety.
In May 2019, Floyd was detained by Minneapolis police when an unlicensed car in which he was a passenger was pulled over in a traffic stop. Floyd was found with a bottle of pain pills. Officers handcuffed him and took him to the city's third police precinct station. Floyd told police he did not sell the pills and that they were related to his own addiction. When he appeared agitated, officers encouraged him to relax and helped calm him down, and they later called an ambulance as they grew worried about his condition. No charges were filed in connection with the incident.
In 2019, Floyd worked in security at the El Nuevo Rodeo club, where police officer Derek Chauvin also worked off-duty as a security guard. In 2020, Floyd was working part time as a security guard at the Conga Latin Bistro club, and began another job as a delivery driver. He lost the delivery driver job in January, after being cited for driving without a valid commercial license and for being involved in a minor crash. He was looking for another job when the COVID-19 pandemic hit Minnesota, and his personal financial situation worsened when the club closed in March due to pandemic rules. In April, he contracted COVID-19, but recovered a few weeks later.
Main article: Murder of George Floyd
On May 25, 2020, Floyd was murdered by Derek Chauvin, a white Minneapolis police officer, who pressed his knee to Floyd's neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds[note 1] while Floyd was handcuffed face down in the street. As seen in a witness's cellphone video, two other officers further restrained Floyd and a fourth prevented onlookers from intervening: 6:24  as Floyd repeatedly pleaded that he could not breathe. During the final two minutes Floyd was motionless and had no pulse, but Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd's neck and back even as emergency medical technicians arrived to treat Floyd.: 7:21
Police had been called by a grocery store employee who suspected that Floyd had used a counterfeit $20 bill.
The medical examiner found that Floyd's heart stopped while he was being restrained and that his death was a homicide, caused by "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression", though fentanyl intoxication and recent methamphetamine use may have increased the likelihood of death. A second autopsy, commissioned by Floyd's family, also found his death to be a homicide, specifically citing asphyxia due to neck and back compression; it ruled out that any underlying medical problems had contributed to Floyd's death, and said that Floyd being able to speak while under Chauvin's knee does not mean he could breathe.
On March 12, 2021, the Minneapolis city council approved a settlement of $27 million to the Floyd family following a wrongful death lawsuit.
Chauvin was fired and charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Chauvin was found guilty on all three murder and manslaughter charges on April 20, 2021. On May 12, 2021, Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill allowed for the prosecution to seek a greater prison sentence for Chauvin after finding that he treated Floyd "with particular cruelty". On June 25, Judge Cahill sentenced Chauvin to twenty-two and a half years in prison.
Memorials and legacy
Main articles: George Floyd protests, George Floyd Square, Bust of George Floyd, and Statue of George Floyd
After Floyd's death, protests were held globally against the use of excessive force by police officers against black suspects and lack of police accountability. Calls to both defund and abolish the police have been widespread. Protests began in Minneapolis the day after his death and developed in cities throughout all 50 U.S. states and internationally. The day after his death, all four officers involved in Floyd's death were fired and, on May 29, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges were brought against Chauvin.
Several memorial services were held. On June 4, 2020, a memorial service for Floyd took place in Minneapolis with Al Sharpton delivering the eulogy. Services were planned in North Carolina with a public viewing and private service on June 6 and in Houston on June 8 and 9. Floyd was buried next to his mother in Pearland, Texas.
Colleges and universities which have created scholarships in Floyd's name included North Central University (which hosted a memorial service for Floyd),Alabama State, Oakwood University,Missouri State University, Southeast Missouri State, Ohio University,Buffalo State College, Copper Mountain College, and others. Amid nationwide protests over Floyd's killing, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and his wife Patty Quillin made a $120 million donation to be split equally among Morehouse College, Spelman College and the United Negro College Fund. The donation was the largest ever made to historically black colleges and universities.
Street artists globally created murals honoring Floyd. Depictions included Floyd as a ghost in Minneapolis, as an angel in Houston, and as a saint weeping blood in Naples. A mural on the International Wall in Belfast commissioned by Festival of the People (Féile an Phobail) and Visit West Belfast (Fáilte Feirste Thiar) featured a large portrait of Floyd above a tableau showing Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck while the three other officers turn their backs and each covers his eyes, ears, or mouth in the manner of the Three Wise Monkeys ("See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil"). One Houston mural is on the side of Scott Food Mart in the Third Ward, while the other is on the property of The Breakfast Klub restaurant in Midtown. A childhood friend of Floyd's said that Floyd would never "have imagined that this is the tragic way people would know his name."
A GoFundMe account to support Floyd's funeral costs and benefit his family broke the site's record for number of individual donations.
By June 6, murals had been created in many cities, including Manchester, Dallas, Miami, Idlib, Los Angeles, Nairobi, Oakland, Strombeek-Bever, Berlin, Pensacola, and La Mesa. The mural in Manchester was defaced with graffiti. Manchester Police investigated the incident. Beyond the creation of the mural, Floyd's killing has also brought attention to the presence of institutional racism within the United Kingdom. Protest graffiti has also been put up throughout Los Angeles, offering phrases such as "I Can't Breathe", "Say Their Names", and others. The phrase "Black Lives Matter" has also been used often in the outpouring of protest regarding Floyd's death. The phrase has been especially popular on social media platforms. Since Floyd's death, there has also been a global outcry for memorials commemorating bigoted individuals to be demolished.
A bill proposed by US Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, the George Floyd Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity Act, was designed to reduce police brutality and establish national policing standards and accreditations. In addition to the work of lawmakers, there has been an outcry from leaders in varieties of fields. Researcher Temitope Oriola, author of 'How police departments can identify and oust killer cops', wrote the piece intending to prevent more deaths mirroring Floyd's. Oxiris Barbot, former Commissioner of Health of the City of New York, wrote in an article addressing COVID-19 and the death of George Floyd that Floyd's death was "a cumulative injury on top of the sustained acuity of health inequities playing out in horrifying details through the COVID-19 pandemic." Religious leaders have also been called upon to address violence taking place against black Americans.
The length of time that Chauvin was initially believed to have had his knee on Floyd's neck, eight minutes 46 seconds, was widely commemorated as a "moment of silence" to honor Floyd.[note 2]
Floyd's death was featured prominently in The Economist, with the magazine running an obituary, multiple articles, and numerous reader letters, ultimately making the legacy of his death its June 13 cover story. It wrote that his legacy "[is] the rich promise of social reform."
In August 2020, musician John Mellencamp released the song "A Pawn in the White Man's Game" which was a re-working of Bob Dylan's 1964 song "Only a Pawn in Their Game" that reflected on the killing of Civil Rights activist Medger Evers. Mellencamp's version featured new lyrics that reflected the racial conflicts in the U.S. that followed in the wake of Floyd's death. Mellencamp also released a video to YouTube which included a warning that it might be seen as "inappropriate for some viewers". The video featured footage of protesters and police clashing violently in 2020 and 1968. YouTube eventually removed the video claiming it violated their community guidelines.
On September 18, 2020, the Minneapolis City Council approved designating the section of Chicago Avenue between 37th and 39th Streets as George Perry Floyd Jr. Place, with a marker at the intersection with 38th Street where the incident took place. The intersection had been the location of a makeshift memorial that emerged the day after his death.
On October 6, 2020, Amnesty International delivered a letter with one million signatures from around the world to the US Attorney General William Barr to demand justice for George Floyd. The human rights advocacy group demanded that the police officers involved in the killing of George Floyd be held accountable. The NAACP, which has already published a criminal justice fact sheet, wrote in response to Floyd's death a statement voicing their support for the protests taking place demanding justice for George Floyd.
On May 21, 2021, Bridgett Floyd gave a $25,000 check from the George Floyd Memorial Foundation to Fayetteville State University in Fayetteville, North Carolina to be used for scholarships. On the same day, the city declared May 25 George Floyd Jr. Day.
Floyd was the oldest of five siblings and had five children, including two daughters (aged 6 and 22 at the time of his death) and an adult son. He also had two grandchildren.
After Floyd's death, a petition was started on the public benefit corporation website, change.org asking for "Justice for George Floyd." The petition quickly gathered more signatures than any other petition than had ever been pushed on the site, amounting to roughly five million in the first few days. The Associated Press reported that the petition was considered a "success" with the sentencing of Derek Chauvin. At the time that the petition was closed to new signers, it had attained close to twenty million signatures.
- ^9:29 not 7:46
- ^7:46 not 8:46
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George Floyd's death started with an arrest for a misdemeanor. Petty crime needs a rethink.
This week marks the beginning of the trial of Derek Chauvin, one of the four Minnesota police officers accused of involvement in the outrageous killing of George Floyd last year. After a grocery store clerk called the police over Floyd’s suspected use of a counterfeit $20 bill, a series of police actions ended in Floyd’s brutal death as Chauvin held his knee on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes, filmed on a phone for the shocked public to see.
Up to 13 million misdemeanor cases are filed every year, and reflect 80 percent of all arrests across the country.
This is hardly the only time when a call to the authorities has resulted in death at the hands of police, and it’s a step forward to see some officer-involved killings getting the greater scrutiny they demand — and, in the case of Chauvin, a criminal proceeding to document what happened and hold wrongdoers accountable.
But as a former prosecutor and a public defender, we can sadly attest that there still isn’t adequate attention to one of most insidious aspects of Floyd’s killing and that of so many others like him: The original arrest came for an offense that was merely a misdemeanor. Misdemeanors, which include things such as petty theft, public intoxication and reckless driving, are low-level crimes that generally have a statutory maximum sentence of one year in jail but that usually result in little to no jail time.
Chauvin’s trial should serve as a rallying cry for policymakers to not only change when and how police use force, but also for us as a society to rethink what kinds of arrests are really necessary. Every interaction with law enforcement can lead someone down a path of increasing consequences, and justice is not served when the enforcement of a low-level offense like the alleged use of a counterfeit $20 bill is prioritized over the life and livelihood of a person.
Arrests for low-level offenses make up the majority of the cases in the criminal legal system. Up to 13 million misdemeanor cases are filed every year, and reflect 80 percent of all arrests across the country. This mass enforcement of nonviolent misdemeanors is itself a pernicious threat to public safety: We know that just a few days in jail can result in an increased likelihood of committing another offense in the future.
High rates of low-level enforcement can also undermine communities’ willingness to cooperate with police about more serious issues. When individuals bear the high cost of getting arrested for a low-level offense, their trust and willingness to engage with law enforcement is eroded and ultimately affects the overall safety of the community.
And in a pandemic, mass misdemeanor enforcement is a clear public health issue. Policing misdemeanors requires a high volume of street-level interactions — i.e. the opposite of social distancing — and can result in people being arrested and booked into jails where distancing and other precautions are limited.
Covid-19 has accelerated an overdue reckoning: When does an arrest promote public safety, and when does an arrest leave us all worse off? Police departments in cities such as Fort Worth, Texas, Denver and Philadelphia have answered this question by reducing low-level arrests because it’s impossible to keep the public or officers safe while conducting this type of enforcement.
With a high volume of misdemeanor cases funneled into a system that is deeply intertwined with both slavery and Jim Crow injustice, racism can compound each decision point. For starters, while misdemeanor enforcement has recently decreased in many places, the benefits of this decrease are not equally shared, as Black people still face dramatically higher rates of misdemeanor arrests compared to white people. New data from the Research Network on Misdemeanor Justice shows that across seven U.S. jurisdictions, even as misdemeanor arrest rates decreased dramatically from their most recent peaks, racial disparities persisted – and even grew in many jurisdictions. Depending on the jurisdiction and year, these disparities were in some places as high as seven arrests of Black people for every arrest of a white person.
As two people who have worked on opposite sides of the criminal legal system for decades, we have also seen first-hand how biases — conscious or not — show up in the courtroom when two people of different races face the same charge and have similar criminal records. Research confirms our experience: One study showed that compared to a Black person, a white person charged with a misdemeanor is 75 percent more likely to end up with a conviction that carries no possibility of incarceration or with no conviction at all.
This leaves Black people at greater risk of being saddled with the lifelong burden of a criminal record, which perpetuates racial inequalities by limiting access to employment, education and housing. Indeed, people with a misdemeanor conviction experience reduced annual earnings by an average of 16 percent. This fact alone demonstrates how mass misdemeanor criminalization is bad public policy and demands attention from lawmakers.
There are obvious solutions here. Most important, it’s time to stop using misdemeanor arrests and the criminal legal system for things such as public intoxication, driving on a suspended license (often done by people trying to get to work) and trespassing. These are misdemeanors that are disproportionately enforced in communities of color and that put people’s lives at risk when police make an arrest.
Arresting someone for selling loose cigarettes or for drug possession does not improve public safety because it simply punishes poverty and addiction, rather than addressing their underlying causes. Some misdemeanors do not belong in the criminal system, and are better addressed by redirecting resources where they are needed, including into education and social services.
As newly elected legislators convene in states across the country, they must undertake an honest, transparent assessment of misdemeanor statutes, particularly where the criminalization of certain behavior has historically been applied in racist ways, such as drug possession or loitering. Some states have started to do this through marijuana legalization or decriminalization.
If we want our communities to be safe and healthy, defenders and prosecutors must come together to support radical reform of our misdemeanor system. We have clear evidence of racism and inequity, and it is time to break that cycle.
Michael N. Herring
Michael N. Herring is the former Commonwealth’s Attorney for Richmond, Virginia, and sits on the National Research Advisory Board at the Data Collaborative for Justice.
Jenny Roberts is a professor of law and co-director of the Criminal Justice Clinic at the American University Washington College of Law and a former public defender. She also sits on the National Research Advisory Board at the Data Collaborative for Justice.
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George Floyd had ‘violent criminal history’: Minneapolis police union chief
The head of the Minneapolis police union says George Floyd’s “violent criminal history” needs to be remembered and that the protests over his death are the work of a “terrorist movement.”
“What is not being told is the violent criminal history of George Floyd. The media will not air this,” police union president Bob Kroll told his members in a letter posted Monday on Twitter.
Floyd had landed five years behind bars in 2009 for an assault and robbery two years earlier, and before that, had been convicted of charges ranging from theft with a firearm to drugs, the Daily Mail reported.
Floyd died last week after a white cop kneeled on the 46-year-old black man’s neck for nearly 9 minutes, a shocking incident that was caught on video and is sparking widespread violent protests, including in New York City. Floyd had allegedly just tried to pass a phony $20 bill before he died.
“This terrorist movement that is currently occurring was a long time build up which dates back years,” Kroll said in his letter of the protests, adding that some of his city’s issues exist because Minneapolis leaders have been “minimizing the size of our police force and diverting funds to community activists with an anti-police agenda.
“Our chief requested 400 more officers and was flatly denied any. This is what led to this record breaking riot,” he said.
The union chief vowed that his organization would help the cop accused of killing Floyd, now-fired Officer Derek Chauvin, and three other officers who were at the scene and are being investigated.
“I’ve worked with the four defense attorneys that are representing each of our four terminated individuals under criminal investigation, in addition with our labor attorneys to fight for their jobs. They were terminated without due process,” Kroll wrote.
Information about George Floyd's prior arrests can't be used at the trials of four former Minneapolis police officers charged in his death, but jurors will be allowed to hear details about two previous incidents involving the officer who kneeled on Floyd's neck, a judge ruled.
In an order dated Monday and made public Tuesday, Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill said he would explain his decisions at a later date.
Floyd, who was Black and handcuffed, died May 25 after Officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee against Floyd's neck as Floyd said he couldn't breathe. Floyd's death was captured in widely seen bystander video that set off protests, sometimes violent, that spread around the world.
Chauvin and the three other officers who took part in Floyd's arrest were fired. Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter. Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao, are charged with aiding and abetting those crimes.
Prosecutors had asked Cahill to allow them to introduce evidence that showed Chauvin had used neck or head and upper body restraints seven times before, including four times in which prosecutors say he went too far.
Cahill ruled that prosecutors can't bring up most of those prior cases during Chauvin's trial, but they can tell the jury about a June 2017 arrest in which Chauvin restrained a female by placing his knee on her neck while she was prone on the ground.
The judge also ruled that prosecutors can tell jurors about an August 2015 incident in which Chauvin saw other officers place a suicidal and intoxicated male into a side-recovery position after using a stun gun on him. Prosecutors had noted that the officers received a commendation after medical professionals said the male could have died if they had prolonged his detention. Cahill said prosecutors can mention it only if they can provide clear and convincing evidence that Chauvin was present when the medical professional made those remarks.
Defense attorneys had asked for permission to bring up details about Floyd's prior arrests, including a May 2019 arrest in which they said he acted in a way that was similar to his behavior on the day of his death. They also wanted to introduce evidence of a prior armed robbery arrest in Texas. In court documents, Lane's attorney described Floyd as an ex-convict, a violent defendant and a liar.
An attorney for Floyd's family had called the defense comments a character assassination. Legal experts told The Associated Press that a blame-the-victim approach is a common defense strategy and can sway public opinion outside of court, but that prior incidents can't be brought up in court simply to smear people.
Cahill's order also denies the state's request to bring up prior on-the-job incidents involving Thao and Kueng, again without providing a reason.
Chauvin's trial is scheduled to begin on March 8. The other defendants' trial is set to start in August.
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Snopes also has in-depth reporting on the background of Derek Chauvin, one of four former police officers charged in the case surrounding George Floyd’s death. Read that report here.
As cities worldwide erupted in protests over the death of George Floyd — a Black man who died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for about nine minutes in Minneapolis — the leader of that city’s police federation sent the below-displayed email to union members. In it, he criticized journalists’ and politicians’ portrayal of the man whose death had sparked a global reckoning over racism in policing.
“What is not being told is the violent criminal history of George Floyd,” said former Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) Lt. Bob Kroll, who represented more than 800 police officers at the time of Floyd’s death. “The media will not air this.”
The June 1, 2020, letter by Kroll, whom Snopes could not reach for this report and retired in early 2021, inspired a wave of claims online about Floyd’s alleged arrests and incarcerations before his death — mostly among people who seemed to be searching for evidence that either the actions by the Minneapolis police officer who choked Floyd were justified, or memorials to honor him were unnecessary.
Among the most popular claims were those by the right-wing commentator Candace Owens, who, in a roughly 18-minute video that’s been viewed more than 6 million times, made several accusations about Floyd’s past and the events that led to his death. She said:
No one thinks that he should have died in his arrest, but what I find despicable to be is that everyone is pretending that this man lived a heroic lifestyle when he didn’t. …I refuse to accept the narrative that this person is a martyr or should be lifted up in the black community. …He has a rap sheet that is long, that is dangerous. He is an example of a violent criminal his entire life — up until the very last moment.”
She claimed reporters had wrongly interpreted Floyd’s death to the public by purposefully omitting details about his past unlawful behavior, and she falsely and inappropriately called police brutality a “myth” and part of some nefarious scheme by news media to polarize Americans before the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
That video, as well as misleading photographs, memes like the one displayed below, and sensationalized tabloid stories about Floyd’s past, prompted numerous inquiries to Snopes from people wondering if he had indeed served time in jail or prison before his death at age 46.
The claims in this meme are a mixture of true and false, as we’ll document below. In brief, the alleged crimes and time periods are mostly accurate, with the caveat that Floyd was convicted of theft in 1998, not armed robbery. But the following information makes other aspects of the post misleading: Not all the crimes resulted in prison time, but rather jail sentences; no evidence suggests a woman involved in the 2007 charge was pregnant; it’s an exaggeration of toxicology results to claim Floyd “was high on meth” when he was choked by a cop, and there’s no proof that Floyd was “getting ready to drive a car” before his fatal encounter with police other than the fact that officers say they approached him as he sat in the driver’s seat of a vehicle.
What follows is everything we know about crimes committed by Floyd — who was born in North Carolina, lived most of his life in Houston and moved to Minneapolis in 2014 — based on court records and police accounts to fulfill those requests. Additionally, this report explores the following:
- Did Floyd’s past arrests and incarcerations have any effect on police officers’ actions during the 911 call that led to his death?
- Was he “high on meth” when he was choked by the Minneapolis cop and died, like the above-displayed meme claims?
- How will Floyd’s criminal record and autopsy toxicology results play a role in the murder trials for the police officers charged in his death?
- Why do some people draw attention to the criminal histories of non-white people killed by police?
We should note at the outset that attorney Ben Crump, who represents Floyd’s family, did not respond to Snopes’ multiple requests for comment, and when we reached an MPD spokesman by phone for this report, he requested an email interview but did not complete it.
Also, we should make clear that four officers involved in Floyd’s death, including the cop who knelt on his neck, were fired from MPD and have been criminally charged (details below).
Police Arrested Floyd a Total of 9 Times, Mostly on Drug and Theft Charges
According to court records in Harris County, which encompasses Floyd’s hometown of Houston, authorities arrested him on nine separate occasions between 1997 and 2007, mostly on drug and theft charges that resulted in months-long jail sentences.
But before we get into the specifics of those cases, first, some biographical details, per The Associated Press (AP): Floyd was the son of a single mother, who moved to Houston from North Carolina when he was a toddler so she could find work. They settled in what’s called “Cuney Homes,” a low-income public housing complex of more than 500 apartments in the city’s predominately Black Third Ward. As a teen, Floyd was a star football and basketball player for Jake Yates High School, and later he played basketball for two years at a Florida community college. After that, in 1995, he spent one year at Texas A&M University in Kingsville before returning to his mother’s Cuney apartment in Houston to find jobs in construction and security.
Another piece of important context while exploring how, and under what circumstances, police arrested Floyd in the late 1990s and early 2000s when he lived in Cuney Homes: On multiple occasions, police would make sweeps through the complex and end up detaining a large number of men, including Floyd, a neighborhood friend named Tiffany Cofield told the AP. Additionally, Texas has one of the highest incarceration rates in the country, per the Prison Policy Initiative, and severalstudies show authorities are way more likely to target Black Texans for arrests than white residents.
As to the details of Floyd’s arrests, the first occurred on Aug. 2, 1997, when he was almost 23 years old. According to prosecutors, police in that case caught him delivering less than one gram of cocaine to someone else, so they sentenced him to about six months in jail. Then, the following year, authorities arrested and charged Floyd with theft on two separate occasions (on Sept. 25, 1998, and Dec. 9, 1998), sentencing him to a total of 10 months and 10 days in jail.
Then, about three years later (on Aug. 29, 2001), Floyd was sentenced to 15 days in jail for “failure to identify to a police officer,” court documents say. In other words, he allegedly didn’t give his name, address or birth date to a cop who was arresting him for reasons that are unknown (the court records don’t say why police were questioning him in the first place) and requesting that personal information.
Between 2002 and 2005, police arrested and charged Floyd for another four crimes: for having less than one gram of cocaine on him (on Oct. 29, 2002); for criminal trespassing (on Jan. 3, 2003); for intending to give less than one gram of cocaine to someone else (on Feb. 6, 2004); and for again having less than one gram of cocaine in his possession (on Dec. 15, 2005). He was sentenced to about 30 months in jail, total, for those crimes.
Lastly, in 2007, authorities arrested and charged Floyd with his most serious crime: aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon.
According to police officers’ probable-cause statement, which is often the basis of prosecutors’ case against suspects, the incident (on Aug. 9, 2007) unfolded like this: Two adults, Aracely Henriquez and Angel Negrete, and a toddler were in a home when they heard a knock at the front door. When Henriquez looked out the window, she saw a man “dressed in a blue uniform” who said “he was with the water department.” But when she opened the door, she realized the man was telling a lie and she tried shutting him out. Then, the statement reads:
However, this male held the door open and prevented her from doing so. At this time, a black Ford Explorer pulled up in front of the Complainants’ residence and five other black males exited this vehicle and proceeded to the front door. The largest of these suspects forced his way into the residence, placed a pistol against the complainant’s abdomen, and forced her into the living room area of the residence. This large suspect then proceeded to search the residence while another armed suspect guarded the complainant, who was struck in the head and side areas by this second armed suspect with his pistol after she screamed for help. As the suspects looked through the residence, they demanded to know where the drugs and money were and Complaint Henriquez advised them that there were no such things in the residence. The suspects then took some jewelry along with the complainant’s cell phone before they fled the scene in the black Ford Explorer.
About three months later, investigators in the Houston Police Department narcotics unit “came across this vehicle during one of the their respective investigations and identified the following subjects as occupants of this vehicle at the time of their investigation: George Floyd (Driver)…,” the statement reads.
At 6-foot-7, Floyd was identified as the “the largest” of the six suspects who arrived at the home in the Ford Explorer and had pushed a pistol against Henriquez’ abdomen before looking for items to steal. (Nothing in the court documents suggests she was pregnant at the time of the robbery, contrary to what memes and Owens later claimed.) He pleaded guilty in 2009 and was sentenced to five years in prison. He was paroled in January 2013, when he was almost 40 years old.
We Don’t Know If MPD Officers Knew of Floyd’s Past Arrests and Incarcerations
But to fully explore this, we’ll lay out what happened on May 25, 2020. Around 8 p.m., someone inside a South Minneapolis convenience store called police to report that a man had used a $20 counterfeit bill to buy cigarettes, and then he ran outside to a vehicle parked nearby. The caller did not identify Floyd by name, according to the 911 transcript.
But here are some details about that call we learned after Floyd’s death: The owner of the store, Mahmoud Abumayyaleh, told NPR that clerks are trained to let management know when someone uses counterfeit money, and the workers try to handle the crime themselves without cops, unless things escalate to violence. But in Floyd’s case, Abumayyaleh said a teenage clerk who had only been employed for six months called 911, essentially implying the worker had not fully understood their protocol. Additionally, the owner said Floyd had been a regular customer for about a year, and he never caused any issues.
According to court documents, two MPD officers — Thomas Lane and J. A. Kueng — responded to the 911 call and, after talking to people inside the store, went to find Floyd in a parked vehicle nearby.
As Lane began speaking with Floyd, who was sitting in the driver’s seat of the vehicle, the officer pulled his gun out and instructed Floyd to show his hands. Floyd complied with the order, whereupon the officer holstered his gun. Then, Lane ordered Floyd out of the car and “put his hands on Floyd, and pulled him out of the car,” and handcuffed him, according to prosecutors. Then, charging documents state:
Mr. Floyd walked with Lane to the sidewalk and sat on the ground at Lane’s direction. When Mr. Floyd sat down he said “thank you man” and was calm. In a conversation that lasted just under two minutes, Lane asked Mr. Floyd for his name and identification. Lane asked Mr. Floyd if he was “on anything” and noted there was foam at the edges of his mouth. Lane explained that he was arresting Mr. Floyd for passing counterfeit currency.
At 8:14 p.m., Officers Lane and Kueng stood Mr. Floyd up and attempted to walk Mr. Floyd to their squad car. As the officers tried to put Mr. Floyd in their squad car, Mr. Floyd stiffened up and fell to the ground. Mr. Floyd told the officers that he was not resisting but did not want to get in the back seat and was claustrophobic.
At that point, two other officers — Derek Chauvin and Tou Thao — arrived at the scene and tried again to get Floyd into a squad car. While they attempted to do so, he began asserting that he could not breathe. Then, according to criminal charges against Chauvin, the officer pulled Floyd out of the squad car, and “Mr. Floyd went to the ground face down and still handcuffed.” The complaint continues:
Officer Kueng held Mr. Floyd’s back and Officer Lane held his legs. Officer Chauvin placed his left knee in the area of Mr. Floyd’s head and neck. Mr. Floyd said, ‘I can’t breathe’ multiple times and repeatedly said, ‘Mama’ and ‘please,’ as well. At one point, Mr. Floyd said ‘I’m about to die.’
A Minnesota judge released footage from Lane and Kueng’s body cameras in early August 2020 — new evidence that showed their attempts to put Floyd into the squad car, and his repeated requests for the officers to consider his health. The videos also showed Chauvin kept Floyd pinned to the ground and knelt on his neck for about nine minutes, including for nearly three minutes after Floyd became non-responsive.
Then, per emergency medical technicians’ and fire department personnel’s accounts of the incident, medics loaded Floyd into an ambulance, where they used a mechanical chest compression device on Floyd, though he did not regain a pulse and his condition did not change.
It’s unclear whether at any point before or during the call the MPD officers knew of Floyd’s past arrests in Texas and, if so, whether that information at all influenced how they acted, consciously or subconsciously. MPD spokespeople did not respond to Snopes’ questions about the officers’ prior knowledge of Floyd before the call from the convenience store, nor did the department answer whether officers in general adjust their responses to 911 calls, or how they approach suspects, based on the criminal records of people involved.
Charging documents, police records and other court filings that lay out Floyd’s criminal history are all publicly available via the Harris County District Clerk online database. Additionally, according to MPD’s policy and procedure manual, which outlines everything from how officers should dress on the job to use-of-force guidelines, officers use a computerized dispatch system to handle 911 calls and often rely on computers in their squad cars to look up and document information.
All of that said, MPD Chief Medaria Arradondo said on June 10, 2020: “There is nothing in that call that should have resulted in the outcome with Mr. Floyd’s death.”
It’s an Exaggeration of Toxicology Findings To Claim Floyd Was ‘High on Meth’ When He Died
In response to one of Owens’ claims — “George Floyd at the time of his arrest was high on fentanyl and he was high on methamphetamine” — as well as assertions by social media users who seemed to be in search of proof for why the MPD officers acted the way they did, here we unpack the results of Floyd’s autopsy report.
The claim is two-pronged: that Floyd had meth in his system and that he was high on the drug when Chauvin knelt on his neck, choking him.
Firstly, on May 29, 2020, court documents revealed the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s investigation into Floyd’s death showed “no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxiation,” and that “potential intoxicants” and preexisting cardiovascular disease “likely contributed to his death.” (Note: Coronary artery disease and hypertension typically increase patients’ risk of stroke and heart attack over years, not minutes, and asphyxia, or suffocation, does not always leave physical signs, according to doctors.)
Two days later, the county released a statement that attributed Floyd’s cause of death to “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression” — which essentially means he died because his heart and lungs stopped while he was being restrained by police. That announcement came just hours after Floyd’s family released findings of a separate, private autopsy that determined Floyd had indeed died from a combination of Chauvin’s knee on his neck and pressure on his back from the other officers. (A copy of that autopsy with all of its details has not been made public.)
According to the county’s postmortem toxicology screening, which is summarized below and was performed one day after Floyd’s death, he was intoxicated with fentanyl and had recently used methamphetamines (as well as other substances) before Chauvin choked him.
More Specifically, Floyd tested positive for 11 ng/mL of fentanyl — which is a synthetic opioid pain reliever — and 19 ng/mL of methamphetamine, or meth, though it’s unclear by what method the intoxicants got into his bloodstream or for what reasons.
But more complex is proving whether “he was high” at the time of his fatal encounter with police. While everyone’s reaction to and tolerance for such drugs varies, and the effects of mixing drugs can be totally unpredictable, lab technicians say fentanyl slowly leaves users’ systems, mostly via urination, over the course of three days from when they first shot up. Additionally, they consider “the presence of fentanyl above 0.20 ng/mL” — which is significantly less than the amount found in Floyd’s system — to be “a strong indicator that the patient has used fentanyl,” according to Mayo Clinic Laboratories.
For methamphetamines, which are typically smoked or injected, users feel an instant euphoria, and then the tapering effects of the drug last anywhere from eight to 24 hours. After that initial “rush,” the amount of meth reduces in their bloodstreams and tests for the drug can be positive for up to five days. Per the University of Rochester Medical Center, the amount of methamphetamines found in Floyd’s bloodstream (19 ng/mL or .019 mg/L) is “within the range” of some patients’ “therapeutic or prescribed use” of the drug.
Also, Hennepin County medical examiners stated Floyd’s blood levels made it seem like he had “recently” used meth in the past, not that he was peaking on a high from it, and the county investigators did not list the drugs as Floyd’s cause of death, but rather as “significant conditions” that influenced how he died. For those reasons and considering the amount of methamphetamines detected in Floyd’s toxicology report, it’s an exaggeration of the scientific evidence to claim Floyd “was high on meth” before police choked him — though his bloodstream did test positive for the drug.
But while making that analysis, it is important to consider the insight of a group of emergency room doctors and psychiatrists, who in the wake of Floyd’s death wrote in the Scientific American: “When Black people are killed by police, their character and even their anatomy is turned into justification for their killer’s exoneration. It’s a well-honed tactic.”
Furthermore, a letter on behalf of thousands of Black doctors and health care workers in America titled “The ‘Collective Black Physicians’ Statement’ on the death of Mr. George Floyd” stated:
Any mention of potential intoxicants of which Mr. Floyd may have been under the influence is meritless at this stage of the physical autopsy examination. In a medicolegal autopsy, the results of a urinary toxicology screen are often inaccurate. All substances must be detected and confirmed in blood and/or particular organs before it can be said that an individual was intoxicated and that death is a complication of that toxicity.
Floyd’s Rap Sheet and Toxicology Results Are Likely To Play a Role in Officers’ Murder Trials
We can credit history for our conclusion on this point. For example, during the murder trial of George Zimmerman — who, though not a police officer, was eventually acquitted of homicide charges in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, a Black teenager, in 2012 — reports of Martin’s alleged truancy and petty crimes made news headlines. Similarly, people called attention to the arrest record of Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old Black man who was shot and killed by a white police officer in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 2016, as his surviving relatives filed a wrongful death lawsuit against police and the city (which remains ongoing as of this writing).
In the latest high-profile case of deadly use of force by police, all four officers — Lane, Kueng, Chauvin and Thao — were fired from MPD the day after Floyd’s controversial killing and were criminally charged.
For 19-year MPD veteran Chauvin, 44, who faces the most severe charges of the four men, Hennepin County prosecutors initially charged him with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. But in early June, after Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz requested the state’s Attorney General Keith Ellison to take over the case, Ellison upgraded those charges so the ex-MPD officer now faces a more severe charge of second-degree murder, in addition to the original charges brought forth by county prosecutors. (Read that latest complaint here.) He made his first court appearance on June 8, 2020, which was mostly procedural, and was held on $1.25 million bail.
Meanwhile, Thao, Kueng and Lane face charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder while committing a felony, and with aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s killing. (You can read the full charges against Thao here; Kueng here, and Lane here.) They made their first court appearances on June 4, 2020, where a judge set bail for each of them at $750,000 if they agreed to certain conditions, such as leaving law enforcement work and avoiding contact with Floyd’s family. One week later, Lane, 37, posted that amount and was freed from Hennepin County jail, and his attorney told the Star Tribune he was planning to file a motion to dismiss the charges.
As of this report, all four officers were scheduled to make their next court appearance June 29, 2020, and no court proceedings have focused on Floyd’s criminal history or drug use, with the exception of the charging documents that mention Hennepin County’s autopsy report and toxicology findings.
Why People Draw Attention to Criminal Histories of Black Men Who Die in Police Custody
For decades, corners of the internet and journalists have highlighted the criminal records of non-white people killed by authorities or caught in viral videos, no matter the relevancy of the rap sheets.
One of the uglier examples is the case of Charles Ramsey, a self-described “scary looking black dude” who helped rescue Amanda Berry, a Cleveland woman who had been kidnapped and held hostage for years in a home near Ramsey’s, in 2013. His interviews about the rescue spread like wildfire online, but then a local TV station aired a story on his criminal past (it was later removed and the station apologized).
More similar to the case of Floyd are the above-mentioned examples of Sterling and Martin, Black men who died at the hands of police and a neighborhood watch volunteer, respectively, and whose histories were trotted out in news stories after they died, seemingly as part of an effort to deny them martyrdom.
Advocates for police reform say the pattern puts unjust blame on victims of police violence and distracts the public from the most important issue at the center of these incidents: Officers too often resort to violence when dealing with citizens, especially if they are Black, indigenous, or people of color.
Kevin O Cokley, a psychology professor at the University of Texas at Austin who studies police brutality against Black Americans, explained the psychology behind the media pattern in an email to Snopes. Of people calling attention to Floyd’s criminal past, specifically, he wrote:
It fits into what psychologists have called the just-world hypothesis, which is a cognitive bias where people believe that the world is just and orderly, and people get what they deserve. It is difficult for people to believe that bad things can happen to good people or to people who don’t deserve it. This is because if people know that these things do happen, they have to decide whether they want to do something about it or sit by silently knowing that there is injustice happening around them.
Furthermore, his colleague Richard Reddick, an associate dean in the university’s College of Education, told us in a phone interview the claims about Floyd were also a product of the era’s highly polarized media environment, compounded by years of problematic storytelling by politicians and reporters that portrays Black men only as “criminal entities” instead of nuanced people. He said:
This is something that Black men are subject to quite a bit — not often seen as complex, whole human beings, who have done wonderful things and not so great things in their lives, but simply a criminal. … This is something that seems to be very specific to Black men who are ex-judiciously murdered; we have to find a rationale, or excuse, or justification for it, no matter what it was.
In other words, he said, shifting the public narrative away from police officers’ actions and onto Floyd’s criminal history is a reoccurring communication strategy “that’s intended to make us not see him as a victim, to dehumanize him, and to make him a caricature.” People can subscribe to the “he had it coming” trope so they don’t have to feel sorry for the victim of police brutality and can deny police responsibility for their actions, Reddick said. He added:
I don’t trust the motivations of the folks bringing this forward. … Of course they’re asking, ‘Why isn’t [Floyd’s criminal history] covered in the major media?’ And it’s because it’s not relevant to this kind of story. What happened to George Floyd in Minneapolis has nothing to do with what happened to him, what he did, in 2007.
To that point, Reddick said Floyd’s past arrests and incarcerations may justifiably appear in “wholesome portraits” about Floyd’s life (such as this AP story), while O Cokley said the news media should not include the background in its stories about Floyd because it “has no relevance to the officer’s behavior,” and because “there is no standardization of the inclusion of background information on stories involving victims of police misconduct.” Reddick summed up the phenomenon like this:
We shouldn’t conflate the complexity of a person’s life with an event that ended with their life being lost — those moments and that time is relevant, but not a criminal conviction from years prior because this is supposedly a country where, when you’ve served your sentence, you’re now able to go rebuild your life, as what he was trying to do.
In January 2013, after Floyd was paroled for the aggravated robbery, people who knew him said he returned to Houston’s Third Ward “with his head on right.” He organized events with local pastors, served as a mentor for people living in his public housing complex, and was affectionately called “Big Floyd” or “the O.G.” (original gangster) as a title of respect for someone who’d learned from his experiences. Then in 2014, Floyd, a father of five, decided to move to Minneapolis to find a new job and start a new chapter.
“The world knows George Floyd, I know Perry Jr.,” said Kathleen McGee, his aunt (in reference to her nickname for Floyd), at his funeral on June 9, 2020. “He was a pesky little rascal, but we all loved him.”
Rumors are surging in the wake of George Floyd’s death and resulting protests against police violence and racial injustice in the United States. Stay informed. Read our special coverage, contribute to support our mission, and submit any tips or claims you see here.
Did George Floyd have a criminal past and what were his previous convictions?
THE MURDER trial of ex-Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin, who was involved in the death of George Floyd, concluded on April 20.
George Floyd's death in Minneapolis saw global protests against racism and police brutality towards the black community.
Did George Floyd have a criminal history?
Floyd, 46, was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and grew up in Houston, Texas.
A father of two girls and a son, the six-foot-seven "gentle giant" had been a star football and basketball player in high school.
The Houston Chronicle reported that 13 years ago, Floyd was charged with aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon - citing Harris County Court records.
He moved from his hometown to embark on a fresh start in Minneapolis where he worked as a truck driver and bouncer, family and friends said.
What was he jailed for?
In 2009, Floyd served a five-year prison sentence as part of a plea deal on the 2007 charge of aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon, reports the Houston Chronicle.
One of his Houston pals, Ronnie Lillard, told the BBC that he became involved in his local ministry, Resurrection Houston, after being freed from jail.
Determined to change himself and help improve his neighbourhood, "Big Floyd" - as he was known - "embraced his own life change [and] he was looking around at his community," Lillard added.
Floyd's ex, Roxie Washington, told reporters: "People mistake him because he was so big that they thought he was always a fighting person, but he was a loving person."
Washington - mum of one of his three kids - said that their six-year-old daughter, Gianna, was "proof that he was a good man.
She said: "I still have a picture of him waking up and getting his baby."
What did the Minneapolis police union president say about George Floyd?
Minneapolis police union head Lt Bob Kroll ranted in a letter to cops that they were being made "scapegoats" during ongoing "terrorist movement" protests against Floyd's brutal death.
He said: "What is not being told is the violent criminal history of George Floyd. The media will not air this."
Making no reference to the way in which Floyd was pinned down until he was no longer conscious, Kroll whined about the response of Mayor Jacob Frey, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and other leaders.
Slamming them as "despicable", he complained the officials had refused to "acknowledge the work of MPD," reports the Star-Tribune.
Kroll said: "I commend you for the excellent police work you are doing in keeping your co-workers and others safe during what everyone except us refuses to call a riot.
"You've turned the tide of the largest scale riot that Minneapolis has ever seen."
Yet the Minneapolis Police Department has faced decades of allegations of brutality and other discrimination against African Americans and other minorities, even within the department itself.
Critics say its culture resists change.
The state of Minnesota has launched a civil rights investigation of the force in hopes of forcing widespread changes following Floyd's death.
The FBI is also investigating whether police wilfully deprived Floyd of his civil rights.
Governor Walz and Minnesota Human Rights Commissioner Rebecca Lucero said they want to find ways to address the department’s history of racial discrimination.
The governor said he knew that "deeply seated issues exist.
“And the reason I know it is we saw the casual nature of the erasing of George Floyd’s life and humanity."
Why was he stopped by Minneapolis police on May 25?
On May 25, “someone called 911 and reported that a man bought merchandise from Cup Foods... in Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minnesota with a counterfeit $20 bill”, say prosecutors.
Their court report explains that, once at the scene, officers Thomas Lane and J.A. Kueng were told the customer was sitting in a car nearby.
Floyd was in the vehicle with another man and woman.
One cop “pulled his gun out and pointed it at Floyd’s open window and directed Floyd to show his hands".
After ordering him to leave the car, the officer “pulled him out of the car” and Floyd “actively resisted” being handcuffed.
Once restrained, however, Floyd was “compliant”.
Asking him if he was “on anything” the officer explained that he was arresting him for “passing counterfeit currency”, the report adds.
But, on the way to the cops' car, Floyd panicked, and said that he suffered from “claustrophobia”.
“Officers Derek Chauvin and Tou Thoa then arrived in a separate squad car.
“While standing outside the car, Mr Floyd began saying and repeating that he could not breathe,” prosecutors say.
He was pulled to the ground, “face down and still handcuffed".
Two officers held Floyd’s back and legs.
Chauvin then “placed his left knee in the area of Mr Floyd’s head and neck.
“Mr Floyd said, 'I can’t breathe' multiple times and repeatedly said, 'Mama' and 'please'."
The report says that after officers “checked Mr Floyd’s right wrist for a pulse and couldn’t find one”, he was pinned down to the ground for a further two minutes, until paramedics arrived.
He was pronounced dead that same night at Hennepin County Medical Centre.
What has happened on the one-year anniversary of Floyd's death?
On Tuesday, May 25, demonstrators were seen gathering in George Floyd square on the one-year anniversary of the 46-year-old's death when shots were allegedly fired.
Police said that officers responded to the scene at roughly 10.09am local time to reports of the sound of shots fired.
Callers also said that a vehicle was seen leaving the area at a high rate of speed.
People appeared to disperse from the square, with an Associated Press reporter saying that many were sheltering in place.
The reporter claimed that he heard "a few dozens sounds of what appear to have been shots fired" on the block where the square it.
He added that organizers at the scene asked "does anyone need a medic? It seems like there are no injuries."
In one media report, ABC's Alex Presha was speaking on camera when multiple shots could be heard erupting in the background.
He could then be heard shouting "DOWN" multiple times, before the picture cut back to the in-office anchor.
Following the shooting, Presha tweeted: "We're OK. Definitely sad way to start a day that's so important to so many people."
It is not yet clear how many people were in the area when the alleged shooting happened and if anyone has been injured.
Authorities reported that someone showed up at the hospital with a gunshot wound, however, it is not immediately clear if that person was injured from this incident.
Former officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of Floyd. He was found guilty of all counts by jurors on April 20.
The three other officers complicit in Floyd's death - J Alexander Keung, Tou Thao and Thomas Lane - will be tried later this year, charged with aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter.
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Who was George Floyd?
George Floyd died after being arrested by Minneapolis police on Memorial Day in 2020.(FOX 9)
MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - The death of George Floyd sparked a movement for police accountability in the summer of 2020 when he died in custody of Minneapolis police after an officer held a knee to his neck for nearly nine minutes.
His death is now the focus of the trials for four former Minneapolis police officers charged in his death. The trial for Derek Chauvin, who used the knee restraint on Floyd, begins on March 8.
Who was George Floyd?
George Floyd was known as a father, friend and a well-liked coworker at several businesses in Minneapolis and now his friends don’t want his life to be lost in vain.
George Floyd was born in North Carolina, but later moved to Houston, Texas where he grew up in the Third Ward, a predominantly Black neighborhood in the city. At 6 feet, 6 inches, Floyd emerged as a star tight end for Jack Yates High School and played in the 1992 state championship game in the Houston Astrodome. Yates lost to Temple, 38-20.
"Twin" of NBA player
In Houston, he also formed a friendship with Stephen Jackson, who would later become a professional basketball player and win an NBA championship with the San Antonio Spurs.
Jackson said they became so close, people would call them "twins" because they looked alike.
Former NBA player Stephen Jackson mourns loss of friend George Floyd
A former NBA player has taken to social media to remember George Floyd
"He was one of those guys who tried his best to be a protector and provider for everybody," said Jackson.
Criminal history in Texas
Between 1997 and 2005, Floyd was arrested several times on drug and theft charges and spent months in jail.
In 2007, Floyd was charged with aggravated robbery in which he allegedly placed a gun on a woman’s abdomen and demanded drugs and money. In 2009, he pleaded guilty and received a five-year prison sentence. He got out on parole in 2013.
Trial Judge Peter Cahill ruled the 2007 incident cannot be admitted as evidence in the trials of the former officers charged in Floyd's death.
Move to Minneapolis
Several years before his death, Floyd moved to Minneapolis for a fresh start, according to Jackson.
In Minneapolis, Floyd worked as a security guard for at a Salvation Army shelter in 2017 as well as various bars, including the Conga Latin Bistro, where the owners said he "got along with everyone."
On May 6, 2019, Floyd was arrested. According to officers in the body camera video, Floyd appeared to be in possession of pills.
The defense for the upcoming trials claimed the body camera video from this arrest captured similar behavior from Floyd seen in his 2020 police encounter such as crying, pleading for his mom and evasive drug tactics.
Trial Judge Cahill ruled part of the video will be admitted as evidence in the trial of Derek Chauvin. He said some of the body camera video from when an officer walks up to the vehicle to when Floyd is out of the car and handcuffed is admissible because it shows delay in compliance, Floyd digesting drugs and subsequent stressful medical condition.
Floyd worked security with Chauvin
Floyd also worked security at El Nuevo Rodeo Club, where he was remembered as a charismatic personality.
"I remember him saying, 'Hey, boss lady,' and being real nice to me and being real respectful and super charismatic...a really nice guy who smiled at everybody," she said.
Former club owner: Officer Chauvin and George Floyd once worked together
A former Minneapolis club owner reflects on her experiences working with both Officer Chauvin and George Floyd, both of whom worked at her establishment at the same time.
The former owner Maya Santamaria said Floyd and former officer Chauvin actually worked together at the club up to the end of 2019. Both worked security, but Chauvin would stay outside in his patrol car and help when needed.
"I don't think that they recognized each other that day," Santamaria said when speaking of Floyd's death in May 2020.
Death on Memorial Day at 38th & Chicago
Floyd was 46 years old when he died while in police custody outside of Cup Foods at E 38th St and Chicago Ave in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020. The police were called to Cup Foods because Floyd had allegedly used a counterfeit $20 at the store.
A teenager captured his arrest on video, which showed then-Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin holding his knee on Floyd’s neck. In the video, Floyd calls for his mother and repeatedly states he can’t breathe before appearing to lose consciousness.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner ruled Floyd’s death as a homicide, citing the cause of death as cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression. Other significant conditions listed included heart disease, fentanyl intoxication and recent methamphetamine use.
The autopsy report also revealed Floyd had tested positive for COVID-19 in April 2020, but did not experience any lung damage and was likely an asymptomatic carrier of the virus.
George Floyd's children
Floyd had five children, according to Reverend Al Sharpton’s eulogy. They came from different relationships and range in age from young children to young adults.
Shortly after Floyd’s death, his son Quincy Mason Floyd was among family members who visited 38th and Chicago.
"I'm here reuniting with my family, trying to get justice for my father," said Quincy at the time. "No man or woman should be without their father."
George Floyd remembered as loving father
The mother of George Floyd's six-year-old daughter shared emotional words Tuesday, describing how her daughter will grow up without her father.
Floyd’s youngest child, Gianna, was six years old when he died. In a video widely shared, Gianna proclaimed that "Daddy changed the world" while sitting atop Jackson’s shoulders following her father’s death.
Gianna’s mother Roxie Washington called for justice for Floyd in an emotional press conference.
"This is what those officers took from me. At the end of the day, they get to go home and be with their families," Washington said. "He will never see her grow up, graduate. He will never watch her walk down the aisle. If there's a problem and she needs a dad, she does not have that anymore."
George Floyd memorials
Following his death, funeral services were held in Minneapolis, Houston and Raeford, North Carolina.
In Minneapolis, a two-hour memorial service took place at North Central University's Trask Worship Center. Hundreds gathered in a nearby park to hear the service over loudspeakers. Celebrities, civil rights activists, family as well as city and state leaders attended the memorial.
George Floyd remembered by family, friends, activists at ceremony in Minneapolis
Family, friends, activists, and celebrities gathered Thursday to honor the life of George Floyd in Minneapolis
Floyd was buried at the Houston Memorial Gardens cemetery in Pearland, next to his mother.
Future of 38th & Chicago
The intersection of 38th and Chicago became known as George Floyd Square, where community members can honor his memory through art and gatherings. The area has been closed with barricades since his death and will remain closed to traffic throughout the Chauvin trial.
City plans are in the works to eventually reopen the intersection with a permanent memorial for Floyd.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.