George Floyd’s death sparked a wave of protests for racial equality (Picture: Getty/Reuters)
It’s been one year since George Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, sparking a wave of protests for racial equality across the world.
Distressing video footage from that day shows the unarmed 46-year-old black man with his hands cuffed behind his back and a knee on his neck.
As Chauvin knelt on him for more than nine minutes, the father-of-one was heard repeatedly crying ‘I can’t breathe’.
People took to the streets not only for Mr Floyd, but for countless other African Americans who died at the hands of authorities.
As protests spread in cities across the world, activists in Britain shone a spotlight on injustices closer to home and the country’s uncomfortable colonial history.
A timeline of key events since George Floyd’s death
May 25, 2020GeORGE fLOYD is killed by police
Minneapolis Police officers respond to a call just after 8pm about a possible counterfeit $20 bill being used grocery store.
They confront Mr Floyd and a struggle ensues, resulting in officers handcuffing him and pinning him face down on the ground.
Chauvin kneels on the back of the suspect’s neck for more than nine minutes while bystanders record Mr Floyd crying ‘I can’t breathe’.
Eventually Mr Floyd goes silent and is later pronounced dead at hospital.
May 26, 2020Police say death resulted from ‘medical incident’
In a statement, the Minneapolis Police Department says Mr Floyd appeared to be in medical distress as he resisted arrest.
Minutes later, footage of the violent arrest is shared online and police share another statement saying the FBI will help them investigate.
Chauvin, now 45, was sacked, along with three other officers — Thomas Lane, J Kueng and Tou Thao. Protests over Mr Floyd’s death begin.
May 27, 2020Rioting breaks out in minneapolis
Demonstrations lead to three consecutive nights of rioting and looting in the city.
At the same time, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey demands criminal charges be brought against Chauvin.
On May 28 police abandon the 3rd Precinct station as protesters storm it and set it on fire.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz calls in the National Guard to try and get the situation under control.
Meanwhile unrest spreads to a number of cities across the US, including New York, Washington DC and Louisville.
May 28, 2020Black Lives Matter protests in London
Demonstrators gather at the US embassy in South London.
A wave of protests follow in London as well as towns and cities across the UK over the summer.
May 29, 2020Derek Chauvin is arrested and charged
The now-sacked officer is arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
He is later is charged with the more serious offence of second-degree murder.
Governor Walz issues the first of dozens of curfews to bring rioting under control.
May 29, 2020Donald Trump says ‘when the looting starts, the shooting starts’
Then US-President Donald Trump threatens to send in the military into Minneapolis to stop the unrest.
Twitter found that he had violated their rules on ‘glorifying violence’ after he wrote ‘when the looting starts, the shooting starts’.
Trump later backpedals and claimed what he meant to say was that when looting starts, people end up getting shot.
He adds: ‘Looting leads to shooting, and that’s why a man was shot and killed in Minneapolis on Wednesday night – or look at what just happened in Louisville with 7 people shot.’
June 1, 2020Medical report is released
An autopsy report reveals Mr Floyd’s heart stopped as he was being restrained by police.
It also notes that he had underlying health issues and that his system showed signs of fentanyl and methamphetamine use.
Mr Floyd’s family hire independent experts to determine the cause of his death.
June 2, 2020Civil rights investigation launched against police
Minnesota’s Department of Human Rights launches a civil rights investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department.
June 3, 2020Remaining officers charged
Chauvin receives a more serious charge of second degree murder.
The other three officers involved in the arrest are charged with aiding and abetting second degree murder.
They are also charged with aiding and abetting second degree manslaughter.
June 4, 2020Memorial service for George Floyd
A mural honouring Mr Floyd is projected above his golden coffin at a memorial service.
Speaking at the ceremony is civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton, who says: ‘The reason we could never be who we wanted and dreamed to be is you kept your knee on our neck.
He added: ‘What happened to Floyd happens every day in this country,
‘It’s time for us to stand up in George’s name and say, “Get your knee off our neck!”‘
Human rights advocate Martin Luther King III was also among those to pay their respects. Mr Floyd is buried in Pearland, Texas on June 9.
June 5, 2020Minneapolis bans chokeholds
The city’s ban on chokeholds by police, was the first of many changes to be announced in coming months, including an overhaul of the police department’s use-of-force policy.
June 7, 2020City council in favour of dismantling police
The majority of Minneapolis City Council members say they support dismantling the police department.
Nine of 13 members sign a pledge to ‘defund the police’.
The wording was vague and ended up losing momentum, but a national debate over police reform continues.
July 21, 2020Minnesota reforms police accountability measures
The city’s legislators pass a broad slate of police accountability measures including bans on neck restraints, chokeholds and so-called warrior-style training.
October 7, 2020Protests as Chauvin released from prison
Chauvin is released from a state prison after posting a $1 million bond, leading to further protests.
March 12, 2021Jury selection begins
Potential jurors are questioned for more than two weeks ahead of Chauvin’s trial.
A pool of more than 300 people is whittled down to 12, with three alternates, to decide whether Mr Floyd’s death was murder.
Nearly all say they have seen parts of the footage of his arrest.
Several admit it has given them a negative view of Chauvin but say they can put that to one side.
The following day, the state of Minneapolis pays $27 million to Mr Floyd’s family as part of a civil lawsuit.
March 29, 2021Beginning of Chauvin’s trial
Jurors watched hours of bystander footage and hear from 45 witnesses during the three week trial.
During this time, 20-year-old black man Daunte Wright is shot dead by a white police officer during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minneapolis.
The triggers successive days of protest but the judge refuses to sequester the Chauvin jury because of this.
April 20, 2021Chauvin found guilty
The jury finds Chauvin guilty of all three charges.
He will later go on to request a fresh trial in May, alleging misconduct by both jurors and prosecutors.
However US media reported that the request for a fresh trial is common after conviction and that it is unlikely that the jury’s decision will be overturned.
Chauvin is due to be sentenced on June 25 and faces up to 40 years in prison, however experts have said he is unlikely to get more than 30.
May 13, 2021Trial for three other officers moved to 2022
Lane, Kueng and Thao were scheduled to face trial on August 23, accused of aiding and abetting Chauvin.
But Judge Peter Cahill delays the trial so that federal civil rights charges against all four officers can go ahead first.
He also suggests the need to put some distance between the case and Chauvin’s high-profile trial.
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