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