George Perry Floyd was an African-American man who died in police custody in south Minneapolis during an encounter on May 25, 2020. The video of his encounter went viral on social media in which Floyd was seen suffocating under the knee of a white policeman, Officer Derek Chauvin. Following George Floyd’s death, several demonstrations and protests developed in over 100 cities throughout the United States and worldwide. Many world-famous athletes and well-known musicians also condemned George Floyd’s death.
George Floyd was born on Sunday, October 14, 1973 (age 46 years; at the time of death) in Fayetteville, N.C. USA TODAY Floyd grew up in Houston’s Third Ward, one of the city’s predominantly Black neighborhoods, and most of his family members still live there. He attended Jack Yates Senior High School in the Third Ward in Houston, Texas. While studying at Yates Senior High School, he had become a key basketball and football player in the school’s teams. Floyd also attended South Florida Community College but left it in mid-way.
After George struggled to find work in Houston, he left the city for Minneapolis around 2018. While in Minneapolis, he worked as a truck driver and later, as a bouncer at Conga Latin Bistro, a popular Latin American restaurant. Earlier, he worked as a security guard at the Salvation Army’s Harbor Light homeless shelter in downtown Minneapolis in late 2017 and early 2018. Houston Chronicle During the COVID-19 pandemic, George Floyd lost his job as a bouncer at Conga Latin Bistro when Minnesota’s governor issued a stay-at-home order to contain the spread of the virus. Chicago Tribune In an interview, Christopher Harris, Floyd’s lifelong friend, said that after George lost his job, he suggested George contact a temporary job agency. While talking about it, Harris said –
At the time of his death, George Floyd was unemployed and looking for work in Minneapolis.
Eye Color: Black
Hair Color: Black
Familly & Ethnicity
George Floyd belonged to an African-American family.
Parents & Siblings
There is not much information about his parents. He lost his mother in 2018. George Floyd’s sister’s name is Bridgett Floyd. Philonese Floyd is the brother of George Floyd. Rodney Floyd is the youngest brother of George Floyd. USA TODAY
Wife & Children
On the evening of May 25, 2020, at around 8:08–8:28 pm, Minneapolis police arrested Floyd because they had mistaken him as someone who attempted to pass off a counterfeit $20 bill at a store in Minneapolis to buy cigarettes. A video of his arrest shows Floyd on the ground with his hands cuffed behind his back. Officer Derek Chauvin is seen with his knee on Floyd’s neck while Floyd complaining he cannot breathe. Reportedly, Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.
At the end of the video, paramedics are seen lifting a limp Floyd onto a stretcher and placing him in an ambulance. Later, his autopsy report revealed no physical finding to support his death through traumatic asphyxia or strangulation. The autopsy report mentioned some underlying health conditions including coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease. The Mercury News
Aftermath & Arrest of the Police Officers
On May 26, 2020, the officers involved in George Floyd’s alleged arrest and encounter were placed on leave. Later in the day, all the four officers (Derek Michael Chauvin, Tou Thao, Thomas K. Lane, and J. Alexander Kueng) were fired. On the same day, the FBI announced to review the incident. Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump came forward to represent Floyd’s family.
On May 28, 2020, the United States Department of Justice and the FBI issued a joint statement to investigate into Floyd’s death by giving it “a top priority.” In the statement, they said,
A comprehensive investigation will compile all available information and thoroughly evaluate evidence and information obtained from witnesses … If it is determined that there has been a violation of federal law, criminal charges will be sought.”
On May 29, 2020, Derek Chauvin became the first white officer in Minnesota to get arrested on charges of a black civilian’s death. Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. ABC NEWS On June 29, all four men (Derek Michael Chauvin, Tou Thao, Thomas K. Lane, and J. Alexander Kueng) appeared in court.
On April 20, 2021, Chauvin was found guilty of all three charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter by a 12-member jury, after considering three weeks of testimony from 45 witnesses, including bystanders, police officials, and medical experts; Chauvin was handcuffed immediately after the verdicts were read, and he was taken into custody.
Reportedly, he was sent to the State’s maximum-security prison in Oak Park Heights. After the verdict, President Joe Biden, in televised remarks, said,
It was a murder in the full light of day and it ripped the blinders off for the whole world to see the systemic racism. This can be a giant step forward in the march toward justice in America.”
Outside the courthouse, a large number of protesters celebrated the verdict. While speaking at a news conference with several family members, George Floyd’s brother Philonise said,
We are able to breathe again.”
On June 25, 2021, Chauvin was sentenced to 22 and half years in prison; earlier, the sentencing guideline range was of 10 years and eight months, which has been exceeded to 15 years for the first time in Minnesota. CNN While pronouncing the sentence, Judge Peter Cahill said that he wanted to –
acknowledge the deep and tremendous pain that all of the families are feeling, especially the Floyd family.”
According to Minnesota Department of Corrections spokesperson Sarah Fitzgerald, Chauvin will remain in a restricted housing unit, a separate unit from the general population, at the Minnesota Correctional Facility- Oak Park Heights.
Demonstrations & Protests
George Floyd’s death triggered a community outrage in Minneapolis, and on May 26, 2020, the protestors made a makeshift memorial at the bus stop, the site of Floyd’s death on Chicago Avenue.
The protestors referred it the Black Lives Matter movement with placards of many slogans, such as “Justice for George”, “I Can’t Breathe”, and “Black Lives Matter.”
Although initially, the protest was peaceful, soon, it turned violent when a group of protestors vandalized the 3rd Precinct, breaking a window, and also vandalized police cars. The police reacted with tear gas, flash grenades, rubber bullets, and smoke bombs. The protests continued for days, and it spread to over 100 cities around the world, including New York, Los Angeles, Milan, Toronto, and more.
By the last of May 2020, several cities in the United States had been brought under a strict curfew-like situation. On June 2, 2020, President Donald Trump threatened to deploy the military in U.S. cities to quell violence. He said,
If a city or a state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them.”
- For his towering height (6′ 6″), George Floyd earned the nicknames – “Gentle Giant” and “Big Floyd.” ALJAZEERA
- He got the nickname “Big Floyd” while working as a security guard at Conga Latin Bistro. ALJAZEERA
- While in Houston, George Floyd had joined the hip-hop group Screwed Up Click, a hip-hop group led by legendary Houston musician DJ Screw. Houston Chronicle
- While talking about Floyd, Jovanni Tunstrom, the bistro owner, said,
Always cheerful. He had a good attitude. He would dance badly to make people laugh. I tried to teach him how to dance because he loved Latin music, but I couldn’t because he was too tall for me. He always called me ‘Bossman’. I said, ‘Floyd, don’t call me Bossman. I’m your friend’.”
- Reportedly, Floyd and Officer Derek Chauvin (who allegedly killed Floyd) both worked as security guards at the Latin nightclub, El Nuevo Rodeo; however, it’s not clear whether they knew each other.
- On May 29, 2020, Kellie Chauvin (the wife of Derek Chauvin) filed for divorce. She also offered her condolences to the Floyd family. KSTP
- In 2007, Floyd was charged with armed robbery in a home invasion in Houston, and in 2009, he was sentenced to five years in prison. ALJAZEERA
- In his family and friend circle, George Floyd was described as “a loving person” and a devoted father who worked hard to support his family.
- Floyd’s sister, Bridgett Floyd, became heartbroken after Floyd’s death. While questioning the police’s handling of her brother like an animal, she said,
That’s exactly what they did. They murdered my brother. He was crying for help.”
- Roxie Washington, the mother of Floyd’s six-year-old daughter, described him as a devoted father. She said,
People mistake him because he was so big that they thought he was always a fighting person. But he was a loving person … and he loved his daughter.”
- Stephen Jackson, one of Floyd’s longtime friends and an NBA basketball star, said in an emotional video post on Instagram –
We called each other Twin. He was changing his life,” moving to Minnesota for work so he could support his children. My boy was doing what he was supposed to do, man, and you all go and kill my brother.”
- Courtney Ross, Floyd’s girlfriend, termed him a shining light in the community. She said,
This is nothing but an angel that was sent to us on earth,” she told CBS News. “And we demonised him, and we killed him.”
- Several murals and memorials were erected in Floyd’s memory following his death.
- Amid the growing protest outside the White House in Washington, President Trump was briefly taken to the underground bunker for a period of time on May 29, 2020. A White House official and a law enforcement source said that first lady Melania Trump and their son, Barron, were also taken to the bunker. CNN
- On New Year’s day in 2022, a four-year-old grand-niece of George Floyd named Arianna Delane was shot at while she was sleeping on the second floor of her family’s apartment in South Houston, Texas at around 3 am. Arianna’s grandmother LaTonya is George Floyd’s sister. Reportedly, the bullet penetrated her lung and liver, as well as breaking three ribs. After the attack, she was rushed to the hospital, where emergency surgery was performed for a punctured lung and liver. While talking about the incident, Arianna’s father Derrick Delane told ABC 13 Houston,
My daughter jumped up and said, ‘Daddy, I’ve been hit’ and I was shocked until I saw the blood and I realised my four-year-old daughter was really hit. She didn’t know what was going on. She was asleep.”
After the surgery, Arianna’s father Derrick said,
I hope she is able to fulfil her dreams after her recovery. She’s healing very fast. The last time I checked on her she was breathing on her own. She was doing really great.”