George Floyd (full name George Perry Floyd) was an African-American from Houston’s Third Ward who died in Minneapolis police custody on May 25, 2020, an incident that sparked nationwide outrage, which led to four police officers’ firing, including the one named Officer Derek Chauvin. In a viral video, Chauvin was seen pressing Floyd’s neck under his knee for a few minutes until Floyd went unconscious, and later, leading to his death. Floyd’s death attracted massive protests over 100 cities in the United States and worldwide.
George Perry Floyd was born on Sunday, October 14, 1973 (age 46 years; at the time of death) in Fayetteville, North Carolina. USA TODAY Floyd was raised in Houston’s Third Ward, an area that predominantly consists of black neighborhoods in the city, and most of the family members of George Floyd still live in this area. While attending Jack Yates Senior High School in the Third Ward in Houston, George Floyd played for the school’s basketball and football teams. Thereafter, he attended South Florida Community College; however, he didn’t complete his schooling.
Around 2018, in search of work, Floyd left Houston for Minneapolis where he got a truck driver’s job. Later, he got the job as a bouncer at Conga Latin Bistro, a famous Latin American restaurant. In late 2017 and early 2018, Floyd had also worked as a security guard at the Salvation Army’s Harbor Light homeless shelter in downtown Minneapolis. Houston Chronicle Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Floyd’s job as a bouncer at Conga Latin Bistro came to a halt when a stay-at-home order was announced by Minnesota’s governor. Chicago Tribune Thereafter, Floyd remained unemployed till his death. While talking about his jobless days, Christopher Harris, Floyd’s lifelong friend, said,
He was looking to start over fresh, a new beginning. He was happy with the change he was making.” ALJAZEERA
ALJAZEERA Height (approx.): 6′ 6″
Hair Color: Black
Eye Color: Black
Family & Ethnicity
George Floyd was from an African-American family.
Parents & Siblings
George Floyd lost his mother in 2018. He had two brothers – Philonese Floyd and Rodney Floyd. His sister’s name is Bridgett Floyd. USA TODAY
Relationships, Wife & Children
George Floyd is survived by his 6-year-old daughter, Gianna Floyd who lives with her mother, Roxie Washington in Houston. Chron
He is also survived by a 22-year-old daughter from another relationship. Chron Geroge Floyd’s girlfriend, Courtney Ross, works at a coffee shop in Minneapolis, and they had been together for three years before Floyd’s death. THE Sun
Floyd also dated a woman named Christina Dawson. USA TODAY
On May 25, 2020, George Floyd died in Minneapolis police custody after he was arrested by the police on the mistaken identity of someone who tried to pass off a counterfeit $20 bill to buy cigarettes at a store in Minneapolis. His arrest happened around 8:08–8:28 pm on the same day. In a viral video, Floyd was seen with his hands cuffed behind his back, and Officer Derek Chauvin pressing with his knee on Floyd’s neck. In the video, Floyd was seen complaining that he could not breathe. According to sources, Officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.
The video culminated with the arrival of paramedics lifting the unconscious Floyd onto a stretcher and placing him in an ambulance. Floyd’s autopsy report negated his death through traumatic asphyxia or strangulation, and it mentioned other reasons behind his death, including coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease. The Mercury News
Charges & Arrests
All the four officers (Derek Michael Chauvin, Tou Thao, Thomas K. Lane, and J. Alexander Kueng), who were involved in George Floyd’s alleged arrest and encounter, were sent on leave the next day of Floyd’s death, i.e., on May 26, 2020. The same, day, an announcement was made by the FBI to review the incident that led to Floyd’s death. Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump became the representative of Floyd’s family.
On May 28, 2020, in a joint statement made by the United States Department of Justice and the FBI, the investigation into Floyd’s death was given “a top priority.” The statement read –
A comprehensive investigation will compile all available information and thoroughly evaluate evidence and information obtained from witnesses … If it is determined that there has been a violation of federal law, criminal charges will be sought.”
On May 29, 2020, the arrest of Derek Chauvin took place; making him the first white officer in Minnesota to get arrested on charges of a black civilian’s death. The charges of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter were framed against Derek Chauvin. ABC NEWS On April 20, 2021, a 12-member jury found Chauvin guilty of all three charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter; the jury gave its verdict after considering three weeks of testimony from 45 witnesses, including police officials, medical experts, and bystanders.
While speaking on the verdict in televised remarks, President Joe Biden said,
It was a murder in the full light of day and it ripped the blinders off for the whole world to see the systemic racism. This can be a giant step forward in the march toward justice in America.”
The verdict was cheered by a huge crowd of protesters present outside the courthouse. At a news conference, George Floyd’s brother Philonise said,
We are able to breathe again.”
On June 25, 2021, a Minneapolis court sentenced him to 22 and half years in prison. CNN Judge Peter Cahill, in a 22-page memorandum that he wrote, said that the sentence was not based on emotion or public opinion. He wrote –
Chauvin “abused his position of trust or authority” and treated Floyd with “particular cruelty.” Chauvin treated Floyd “without respect and denied him the dignity owed to all human beings.”
The sentence was a first in Minneapolis history as earlier, the maximum range of sentencing in Minneapolis was of 10 years and eight months. According to Sarah Fitzgerald, Minnesota Department of Corrections spokesperson, Chauvin will be kept in a restricted housing unit at the Minnesota Correctional Facility- Oak Park Heights.
George Floyd’s death was followed by massive nationwide protests over 100 cities in the United States and worldwide. On the next day of Floyd’s death, i.e., on May 26, 2020, a group of protestors erected a makeshift memorial at the bus stop, the site of Floyd’s death on Chicago Avenue.
A huge number of people joined the protest holding placards with the slogans – “Justice for George”, “I Can’t Breathe”, and “Black Lives Matter.”
Soon, the peaceful protest turned violent after some vandals damaged the 3rd Precinct, breaking a window. They also vandalized police cars. The police retaliated with flash grenades, rubber bullets, tear gas, and smoke bombs. The protest spread like a wildfire to many major cities all over the world, such as Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, and Milan.
By the end of May 2020, the protest had swelled up so much that several cities in the United States were imposed with a curfew. On June 2, 2020, in his statement, President Donal Trump said that to quell the violent protest, he would deploy the military in U.S. cities. Trump said,
If a city or a state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them.”
- George Floyd was a music lover and had joined the hip-hop group Screwed Up Click in Houston, the group was led by legendary Houston musician DJ Screw. Houston Chronicle
- Reportedly, George Floyd and Derek Chauvin (the police officer who kneeled Floyd) both worked at the Latin nightclub, El Nuevo Rodeo as security guards.
- In 2007, Floyd faced a charge of armed robbery in a home invasion in Houston. He was also sentenced to five years in prison in 2009. ALJAZEERA
- In his locality, Floyd was described as “a loving person.” He was also considered a devoted father who worked hard for his family’s subsistence.
- For his exceptional height (6′ 6″), Floyd earned the nicknames – “Big Floyd” and “Gentle Giant.” ALJAZEERA
- The nickname, “Big Floyd” was given to him when he worked as a security guard at Conga Latin Bistro. ALJAZEERA
- Following his death, several murals and memorials were surfaced across various cities in the United States and worldwide.
- According to a White House official and a law enforcement source, when protestors gathered outside the White House in Washington in large numbers on May 29, 2020, President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, and their son, Barron were briefly taken to the underground bunker for a period of time. CNN
- Jovanni Tunstrom, the owner of the Bistro where Floyd worked as a bouncer while talking about Floyd after his death, said,
Always cheerful. He had a good attitude. He would dance badly to make people laugh. I tried to teach him how to dance because he loved Latin music, but I couldn’t because he was too tall for me. He always called me ‘Bossman’. I said, ‘Floyd, don’t call me Bossman. I’m your friend’.”
- Derek Chauvin’s wife, Kellie Chauvin, filed for divorce on May 29, 2020. Kellie also offered her sincere condolences to the Floyd family. KSTP
- While describing Floyd as a devoted father, Roxie Washington, the mother of Floyd’s six-year-old daughter, said,
People mistake him because he was so big that they thought he was always a fighting person. But he was a loving person … and he loved his daughter.”
- The heartbroken sister of Floyd, Bridgett Floyd, termed the police’s act as barbaric and said,
That’s exactly what they did. They murdered my brother. He was crying for help.”
- Stephen Jackson, an NBA basketball star and one of Floyd’s longtime friends, shard an emotional video post on Instagram –
We called each other Twin. He was changing his life,” moving to Minnesota for work so he could support his children. My boy was doing what he was supposed to do, man, and you all go and kill my brother.”
- While describing Floyd as a shining light in the community, his girlfriend, Courtney Ross said,
This is nothing but an angel that was sent to us on earth,” she told CBS News. “And we demonised him, and we killed him.”
References [ + ]