Protesters gather at the scene where George Floyd, an unarmed black man, was pinned down by a police officer kneeling on his neck before later dying in hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S. May 26, 2020. REUTERS/Eric Miller TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

A routine call to investigate a suspected counterfeit bill resulted in the death of an unarmed black man at the hands of a white police officer, sparking outrage across the country. George Floyd was arrested for suspected forgery Monday night, which started “the fatal chain of events.”

According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Floyd was pinned to the ground by three officers, while another watched bystanders on the sidewalk. A bystander’s video showed an officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeling on Floyd’s neck as he said repeatedly that he couldn’t breathe – and at one point, pleaded for his mother. Five minutes into the video, Floyd appears motionless while the officer remained on his neck. The initial police report indicated Floyd had resisted arrest and noted that “at no time were weapons of any type used by anyone involved.” Recently surfaced footage of the arrest appears to contradict the statement, as Floyd acts compliant with the arresting officers in a security video and appears to be dragged from his car in another bystander video. Floyd was pronounced dead hours later at Hennepin County Medical Center.

On Tuesday, the four Minneapolis police involved in the arrest were fired. Former Officer Chauvin was involved in at least two prior officer-involved shootings. Floyd’s sister, Bridget, said that the firings were not enough, calling for their arrests. Their cousin, Tera Brown, told CNN, “They need to be charged with murder because what they did was murder.”

Floyd’s death draws parallels to Eric Garner, who died in chokehold from a New York police officer nearly 6 years ago. NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson said in a statement, “The outrage we feel and the justice we demand will reverberate throughout Minneapolis and the country as a whole. We are done dying.” Joe Biden has called for a federal civil rights investigation, while Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey asked the FBI to participate in the city’s investigation.

Protests demanding justice erupted in Minneapolis Tuesday night, while celebrities took to Twitter to voice their outrage. Sports stars – including Colin Kaepernick, who has been shunned from the NFL since 2016, and Floyd’s friend and former NBA forward Steve Jackson – mourned his death online.

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

‘Unarmed Black Man’ doesn’t mean what you think it means – Poynter – 5/27/2020
One loyal NPR fan pointed out to me that when we utter that phrase, it doesn’t always mean the same thing for the speaker as for the listener. And now I can’t stop hearing it. […] As a preschool teacher and someone who devotes a lot of energy to educating and mentoring children, she wrote to our office: “I am begging NPR to stop referring to black men killed unjustly as ‘unarmed black man.’ … Please stop! As a black woman and a lover of black men, it hurts me every time I hear this despicable phrase on the radio.”

New Video Footage Shows George Floyd Was Not Resisting Arrest During Incident That Led to His Death, Says Attorney – Black Enterprise – 5/27/2020
According to Ben Crump Law, a new video shows that George Floyd, the man who died after pleading for his life as a Minneapolis police officer put his knee on his neck, wasn’t resisting arrest when apprehended. […] Famed Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who represented the family of Trayvon Martin in the case against George Zimmerman, announced that the family of George Floyd has retained him as the attorney to represent them in the case against the Minneapolis Police Department. 

Trump refuses to take position on George Floyd death but says he will get ‘full’ report on the incident – The Independent – 5/27/2020
Donald Trump did not take a position on whether four former Minneapolis police officers who were fired after the death of George Floyd should be prosecuted, saying he and Vice President Mike Pence will get a “full” report on the incident on Thursday. […] When a reporter asked if he thinks the four fired officers should be prosecuted, Mr. Trump just said his administration will “look at it.”

I can’t get past the differences between the Minneapolis BLM protest and anti-lockdown protests – Salon – 5/27/2020
Onlookers can also be heard begging the police not to kill Floyd, while another cop named Tou Thao just glares at them, indifferent to the gathered crowd’s increasing panic. As the cops take Floyd’s unconscious body away, one man can be heard yelling, “You just really killed that man, bro.” The video is incredibly disturbing, so it’s no surprise that thousands of people hit the streets in protest on Tuesday, breaking lockdown in a city with a rising rate of coronavirus infection to register their outrage.

Twitter Lets Verified Users Spread Fake Pic, Link MN Cop to Racist Slogan – Breitbart – 5/27/2020
Twitter has failed to take action as several verified accounts on Wednesday posted a photo falsely linking a Minneapolis police officer — infamous after he was caught on video kneeling on a now-deceased black man’s neck — with a man wearing a “Make Whites Great Again” baseball hat. […] However, the man on the right is not Chauvin but appears to resemble former federal prisoner Jonathan Lee Riches, who has reportedly claimed to have filed over 4,000 lawsuits.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

Mayor Jacob Frey on Twitter, 5/26/2020: Four responding MPD officers involved in the death of George Floyd have been terminated. This is the right call.

Kamala Harris on Twitter, 5/26/2020: Here’s the sad reality: what happened to George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery & Christian Cooper has gone on for generations to Black Americans. Cell phones just made it more visible. Dismantling systemic racism in our nation starts with demanding justice & holding offenders accountable.

Yamiche Alcindor on Twitter, 5/27/2020: Keith Ellison, attorney general of Minnesota, says of George Floyd case: “We are dealing with a systemic problem… We have got to have permanent deep systematic change.” He says he and his office want to see things changes that ensure such killings don’t keep happening.

Marnel Garçon on Twitter, 5/27/2020: @RexChapman @MichaelRapaport Rather than make a negative comparison, I’m gonna make a positive instead. THIS is what cops are trained to do. We need more cops with PATIENCE to deescalste situations. Not trigger happy and immoral behavior cops. We can change this.

Tim Nelson on Twitter, 5/27/2020: NOW Report just released by Mpls Fire Department: Medics removed #georgefloyd from scene to treat him, stopped 4 blocks away, asked for MFD help at 36th & Park. Firefighters reported he was “unresponsive, pulseless” when they got in the rig. @mprnews

Samuel Sinyangwe on Twitter, 5/27/2020: Minneapolis is 19% Black. Here’s who Minneapolis police use chokeholds and strangleholds against, according to the police department’s data.

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