George Floyd, a Black 46-year-old man, died on Monday after being pinned to the ground by a police officer in south Minneapolis. Bystander footage shows the officer kneeling on Floyd's neck, as Floyd protests that he can't breathe before going silent while bystanders yell for him to be let go. Police say they confronted Floyd on suspicion he'd tried to use a fake $20 bill at a grocery store. He died at a medical center shortly after the encounter.
The footage, which was streamed on Facebook Live and has been viewed over a million times, has led to the firing of the four officers present (names have not been officially released, but two have been ID'd as Derek Chauvin and Tou Thao) and an FBI civil rights investigation. However, Floyd's family, along with criminal justice advocates, are calling for the officers to be charged with murder. Before the video emerged, the police report said that Floyd resisted arrest and that he died "after a medical incident" during a police interaction. Nearby security footage camera aired on CBS showing the moments prior to his arrest reveal him cooperating with police. Comparisons are being drawn to the killing of Eric Garner, a Black New York man who died in a police chokehold while pleading for his life, saying, "I can't breathe."
"They treated him worse than they treat animals," said Philonise Floyd, Mr. Floyd's brother, via CNN. "They took a life — they deserve life." Floyd had worked in a restaurant but lost his job during the pandemic.
Hundreds marched down the intersection where the encounter took place on Tuesday to protest the officers' conduct. The were met with tear gas and projectiles, according to the New York Times. Many are pointing out the difference in how the mostly Black protestors (most of whom wore face masks) were treated in comparison to the mostly white protests held around the country demanding re-opening of businesses. Floyd's family has retained civil rights lawyer Benjamin Crump, who's also involved in the cases of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, two recent high-profile fatal police brutality cases.
Jacob Frey, the mayor of Minneapolis, said the officers' termination was "the right call," but many are demanding he push for more severe consequences for the police. Here's how you can help Floyd's family and advocates demand justice.
Sign the #JusticeForFloyd petition.
Color of Change is circulating a petition calling for the four officers involved to have their pensions revoked, be blocked from ever working in law enforcement again, and to be charged with murder. Signing the petition will send a letter to Mayor Jacob Frey and District Attorney Michael Freeman. You can sign online or text FLOYD to 55156.
Make a video of yourself calling for the police officers to be charged.
Color of Change is also calling for personal video testimonials condemning Floyd's death and reiterating their demands to be used on social media to create public pressure. You can find details on submitting the video on the petition website.
Make calls and write letters directly to District Attorney Mike Freeman and Mayor Jacob Frey.
Applying pressure through every channel is crucial. Call DA Freeman at (612-348-5550) and write Mayor Frey here to demand the arrests and charging of the police officers. The petition can double as a script.
Donate directly to George Floyd's family.
There are multiple fundraisers being held for George Floyd's family. His brother Philonise Floyd has organized a fund to cover funeral and burial expenses, and to support Floyd's family as they continue to seek justice: donate here. His sister Bridgett Floyd is raising money to help support George's daughter Gianna: donate here.
Bail out protestors who are being arrested for demanding justice.
The Minnesota Freedom Fund is a local organization that pays criminal bail and immigration bonds for those who cannot afford them. They've been providing protestor bail support to those arrested in the demonstrations demanding justice for Floyd. Donate here.
The MFF is also encouraging donations to Black Visions Collective' Movement and Legal Fund, a Black, trans, and queer led organization based in Minnesota supporting the protests; Reclaim the Block, a Minnesota org that lobbies for defunding the police and re-routing funds to affordable housing, health, violence prevention, civil right and renter protections; and Unicorn Riot, a non-profit media organization dedicated to fair, on-the-ground reporting on civil disobedience, police brutality and white supremacy.
Be thoughtful about sharing images of police brutality.
George Floyd's death proves public watchdogs are still necessary to hold police and other perpetrators of violence against Black people accountable. However, you can express discontent and pressure people in power without sharing graphic videos or images, which can be needlessly triggering. We shouldn't need visuals to feel empathy for victims.
Photo via Getty
- George Floyd's Death Sparks Nationwide Protests ›
- George Floyd's Death Sparks Nationwide Protests - PAPER ›
- "Justice For George Floyd" Will Become Change.Org's Biggest Petition of 2020 - PAPER ›
- Twitter Flags Trump and the White House Threats for Violence - PAPER ›
- Derek Chauvin Arrested and Charged With Murder of George Floyd - PAPER ›
- How to Support BLM Protesters in Every City Where to Donate ›
- Minneapolis Bus Drivers Refuse to Transport Arrested Protesters to Jail - PAPER ›
- George Floyd's Killing Sparks Multiple Protests in NYC - PAPER ›
- Black CNN Journalist Arrested While Covering the George Floyd Protests - PAPER ›
- George Floyd Protests Across America Intensify - PAPER ›
- Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar and More React to Floyd Protests - PAPER ›
- Colin Kaepernick Starts Legal Defense Fund for Protesters - PAPER ›
- Saturday Protests Consume New York City - PAPER ›
- CupcakKe's "Lemon Pepper" Benefits Minnesota Freedom Fund - PAPER ›
- Through Protests, Some Celebrities Are Getting it Right - PAPER ›
- Remembering Tony McDade, Black Trans Man Killed By Police - PAPER ›
- Look out for #BlackBirdersWeek on Your Timeline - PAPER ›
- On Her 27th Birthday, Demand Justice for Breonna Taylor - PAPER ›
- Minneapolis Bans the Use of Chokeholds By Police - PAPER ›
- How to Help If You Can't Join a Protest - PAPER ›
- Derek Chavin, Ex- Cop Charged With George Floyd's Murder, Has Bail Set at $1.25 Million - PAPER ›
- Derek Chauvin, Ex- Cop Charged With George Floyd's Murder, Has Bail Set at $1.25 Million - PAPER ›
- A Group of Well-Dressed Men Honor George Floyd in Harlem ›
- A Group of Well-Dressed Men Honor George Floyd in Harlem - PAPER ›
- George Floyd's Daughter Gianna Offered Full Scholarship to Texas Southern University - PAPER ›
- Find More Confederate Landmarks to Topple Near You - PAPER ›