George Floyd, a 46 year old African American male, was arrested on May 25th after employees of Cup Foods reported him for attempting to pay using a counterfeit twenty dollar bill. Three videos show the struggle between George Floyd and law enforcement officers and his arrest One video, which was filmed by bystanders, showed a police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck as Floyd repeatedly informed the officer that he was unable to breathe. The videos were released to the public and sparked outrage and unrest within the United States. Minneapolis, which is where George Floyd resided, was the first city to experience protests and riots.
Since the protesting and riots began in Minneapolis, every state has seen numerous protests and riots. Major cities in the United States are experiencing large scale protests in spite of the social distancing measures still in place. Many originally “peaceful protests” have turned into dangerous and deadly riots, causing large cities to initiate curfews to ensure the protests don’t become dangerous overnight. Some states have even brought in the National Guard and are working their police overtime to compensate for increased social tensions and potential riots. The President of the United States has vowed to deploy the military if the violence is not put to an end by the individual states.
Protesters also staged a sit-in on capitol hill. More than 1,000 people gathered at the U.S. capitol to peacefully protest police brutality. Many of the people wore masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Protestors were heard to be chanting things like “we are not a threat” and they plan to continue the protesting.
The four police officers involved in Floyd’s arrest have been fired.Derek Chauvin - the officer that kneeled on Floyd’s neck,which action was deemed to have caused his death - has been arrested on charges of third degree murder. His bail is set at 500,000 dollars. In response to the event, the officer's wife has publicly spoken out against her husband. She has filed for divorce and taken their kids to a location safe from rebuke. She also stated that she is deeply sorry and disgusted with her husband.
In Missouri, protests are happening in many places , from smaller towns like Cape Girardeau to bigger cities like St.Louis and Kansas City. Protests in Kansas City and St.Louis have turned riotous. Protesters have been detained and there have been curfews set in place. In St. Louis three policemen and an ex-police chief have been shot. The ex-police chief died as a result of the shooting, however, the other officers are recovering.
People have also taken to social media for their protests. On Tuesday, thousands of people participated in Black Out Tuesday. People posted black pictures on social media with a caption and the hashtag blackouttuesday to support the black lives matter movement. There have been hundreds of thousands of posts to bring awareness to the problem at hand.