On Monday, May 25, 2020, George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was murdered near the intersection of East 38th Street and Chicago Avenue in the Powderhorn Park neighborhood of Minneapolis, Minnesota, by Derek Chauvin, a white police officer with the Minneapolis Police Department.[4] Floyd had been arrested on suspicion of using a counterfeit $20 bill. Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes while Floyd was handcuffed and lying face-down in the street.[5][6][7] Two other police officers, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane, assisted Chauvin in restraining Floyd. Lane had also pointed a gun to Floyd’s head prior to Floyd being put in handcuffs.[8] A fourth police officer, Tou Thao, prevented bystanders from interfering.[9]

Prior to being placed on the ground, Floyd had exhibited signs of anxiety, complaining about having claustrophobia and being unable to breathe.[10] After being restrained he became more distressed, complaining of breathing difficulties and the knee on his neck, and expressing fear of imminent death.[5] After several minutes, Floyd stopped speaking.[5] For the last couple of minutes, he lay motionless and Officer Kueng found no pulse when urged to check.[11][12] Despite this, Chauvin ignored pleas from bystanders to lift his knee until told to do so by paramedics.