George Floyd: The final moments of his life

The final moments of his life
George Floyd repeatedly told the police officers who detained him that he could not breathe. Source: Twitter
5 Min Read

Daily US Times: Protests have spread across the US over the death of an African-American man in police custody. The former NBA player George Floyd, 46, died after being arrested by police outside a shop in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

A footage in his police custody time on 25 May shows police officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeling on Mr Floyd’s neck while he was pinned to the ground.

The police officer later sacked and since been charged with murder.

The key events that lead to the death of George Floyd happened within just 30 minutes. Based on official statements, witness and video footage, here is what we know so far.

It all began with a report of a fake $20 bill. In the evening of 25 May, a report was when Mr Floyd bought a pack of cigarettes from Cup Foods, a grocery store.

Derek Chauvin is due to appear in court in Minneapolis on Monday. Source: Reuters

Believing the $20 bill he used to be counterfeit, an employee from the store reported it to police.

After moving from his native Houston, Texas, Mr Floyd had been living in Minneapolis for several years. He had recently been working as a bouncer in the city but because of coronavirus pandemic, like millions of other Americans, he was also left jobless.

Cup Foods owner Mike Abumayyaleh told that Mr Floyd was a regular at the store. He was a friendly face, a pleasant customer who never caused any trouble.

Mr Abumayyaleh was not in the work the day the incident took place. His teenage employee was just following protocol in reporting the suspicious bill.

The call to 911 was made at 20.01. According to a transcript released by authorities, the employee told the operator he had demanded the cigarettes back but “he [Floyd] doesn’t want to do that”.

The transcript says, the employee said the man appeared “drunk” and “not in control of himself”.

Two police officers arrived at around 20.08. In that time, Mr Floyd was sitting with two other people in a car parked around the corner.

After approaching the car, Thomas Lane, one of the officers, pulled out his gun and ordered Mr Floyd to show his hands. Prosecutors did not explain why Mr Lane thought it necessary to draw his gun.

Prosecutors said, Mr Lane “put his hands on Mr Floyd, and pulled him out of the car”. Then Mr Floyd “actively resisted being handcuffed”.

After being handcuffed, Mr Lane explained Mr Floyed that he was being arrested for “passing counterfeit currency”.

Demonstrators start a fire as they protest the death of George Floyd near the White House. Photograph: AP

It was when the police officers tried to put Mr Floyd in their squad car that a struggle ensued.

According to the report, at around 20:14, Mr Floyd “stiffened up, fell to the ground, and told the officers he was claustrophobic”.

In the meantime, Mr Chauvin arrived at the scene. He and other officers were involved in further attempts to put Mr Floyd in the police car.

The report said, during this attempt, at 20:19, Mr Chauvin pulled Mr Floyd out of the passenger side, causing him to fall to the ground.

He lay there, face down, still in handcuffs.

That’s when witnesses started to film Mr Floyd, who appeared to be in a distressed state. These moments, captured on multiple mobile phones and shared widely on social media, would prove to be Mr Floyd’s last moments of life.

Mr Floyd was restrained by officers, while Mr Chauvin placed his left knee between his head and neck.

George Floyd said repeatedly, “I can’t breathe,” pleading for his mother and begging “please, please, please”.

Mr Chauvin kept his knee on Mr Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds, the prosecutors’ report says.

Mr Floyd became non-responsive after six minutes into that period. In videos of the incident, this was when Mr Floyd fell silent, as bystanders urged the officers to check his pulse.

JA Kueng, One of the other officers, did just that, checking Mr Floyd’s right wrist, but “couldn’t find one”. Yet, the officers did not move.

Mr Chauvin removed his knee from Mr Floyd’s neck at 20.27. Motionless, Mr Floyd was rolled on to a gurney and taken to the Hennepin County Medical Center in an ambulance.

He was pronounced dead around an hour later.

Nearly 30 US cities across the country have imposed curfews in an attempt to stem the violent clashes between protesters and police over the death of George Floyd.