George Floyd

Artwork by Dayja Owens

George Perry Floyd Jr. (October 14, 1973 – May 25, 2020) was an African-American man who was murdered by a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, during an arrest made after a store clerk suspected Floyd may have used a counterfeit twenty-dollar bill, on May 25, 2020.[3] Derek Chauvin, one of the four police officers who arrived on the scene, knelt on Floyd's neck and back for 9 minutes and 29 seconds which caused a lack of oxygen.[4] After his murder, protests against police brutality, especially towards Black peoplequickly spread across the United States and globally. His dying words, "I can't breathe", became a rallying slogan.

Born in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Floyd grew up in Houston, Texas, playing football and basketball throughout high school and college. 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.[5] After he was paroled in 2013, he served as a mentor in his religious community and posted anti-violence videos to social media.[6][7][8][9] 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,[10] and on June 25, 2021, was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison.[11] The other three officers at the scene were also later convicted of violating Floyd's civil rights.[12]