“I can’t breathe, I cant breathe” these are the words yelled by 46-year-old George Floyd a father of five while he was pleading for air while being murdered by 44-year-old Derek Chauvin, a police officer, who pressed his knee onto Floyd’s vital airways to stop him from moving.
Since then, George Floyd’s death has sparked numerous movements and campaigns. A recent campaign which has led to many protests and demonstrations has been the BlackLivesMatter campaign.
George Floyd was an ex-prisoner who decided to turn his life around and start a fresh, he moved to Minneapolis where he worked as a bouncer. In this club where he worked, he worked alongside Chauvin and the pair had history of arguments together while working together.
George Floyd was murdered on the 25th of May 2020 after he had allegedly handed over a counterfeit $20 in a shop in Minneapolis. When the police arrived and tried to get Floyd into the car there was a struggle, Floyd was then restrained on the ground and Chauvin put his knee onto Floyd’s neck to keep him still. During this time Floyd called out many times how he could not breathe and called out for his mother.
His knee pushed on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.
While Floyd was kept on the ground by Chauvin’s knee, members of the public filmed this brutal act and the video of George Floyd was shared all over social media which sparked a public outcry across the world.
The video of Chauvin pressing his knee on Mr Floyd’s neck currently has 11 million views (CBS evening news YouTube) this death has been covered by almost every newspaper and huge public figures have spoken out about Floyd’s death. There has been protests and campaigns everywhere including Glasgow. This death is now a worldwide headlining death and has started many movements for racial abuse and discrimination to be stopped and equal rights for black and white people.
Derek Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter due to George Floyd’s death. The other officers who were there and did nothing to help have been charged Kiernan Lane, Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao were all charged with second-degree aiding and abetting felony murder and second-degree aiding and abetting manslaughter due to the death of George Floyd.
Although Kiernan Lane has been released from prison after paying $750,000 bail as a crowd funding page was set up where people could donate to pay Mr Lane’s bail. This page was taken down, but it not yet confirmed if this money raised went towards his bail.
George Floyd was a black man who was being pinned down by a white man, so this is a racial issue. His death has created a huge coverage for black people everywhere and how white people treat them. More people have spoken out about the racial abuse they have experienced these campaigns that are happening all around the world are allowing people to fight for what is right and talk about their racial discrimination.
These campaigns have exposed the police brutality and many calls for the government to cease funding for the police. The Black Lives Matter website has a petition which was made on June 4th, 2020 highlighting why police should be refused funding and it has 9,000 signatures in 4 days.
These protests have caused mass destruction all over the world with buildings being set alight, shops being stolen from and statues which are linked to being racist or the slave trade being pulled down. Recently a statue in Bristol of Edward Colston had been pulled down and thrown into a near by harbour as it was linked to the slave trade.
This protest is key in showing that we all stand in solidarity with black and ethnic minorities across the world. It is also very important in exposing the police brutality and the harsh opinions people have of black people simply because they do not share the same coloured skin or the same culture.
By Sophie Bourke, Team Reporter
Sources- The BBC, The Independent