George Floyd two years on: some accountability but killings go on

Two years have passed since Minneapolis police handcuffed George Floyd’s hands behind his back, pinned him face down on the street and choked the life out of him.

Floyd, aged 46, was being arrested on suspicion of attempting to pass a counterfeit bill at a neighbourhood convenience store. On May 25, 2020, a white police officer knelt on his neck for nine and half minutes, cutting off

Caught on video by a bystander, the incident sparked worldwide protests by hundreds of thousands of people that rocked politics in the United States and helped lift Joe Biden to the US presidency.

Standing alongside Floyd’s family members, Biden plans to sign an executive order at the White House on Wednesday adopting new standards for law enforcement. But rights advocates say little has changed in how police interact with Black communities in the US.

“For the two-year anniversary, it’s woefully underwhelming and not at all something that befits the memory of George Floyd,” Melina Abdullah, a Black Lives Matter grassroots organiser, told Al Jazeera. “We were hoping for something much more courageous.”

Amid continuing calls for justice and change, here’s a summary of what’s happened in the two years since Floyd’s death:

The Officers

Derek Chauvin, the officer who choked Floyd to death, was convicted by a jury in Minnesota state court of unintentional murder and manslaughter. He was sentenced in June 2021 by the trial judge to 22 and a half years in prison.

In April, 46-year-old Chauvin appealed his murder conviction, arguing that the jury was intimidated by protests and prejudiced by pre-trial publicity.

Chauvin pleaded guilty in December 2021 to federal charges of violating Floyd’s civil rights, averting a potential penalty of life in prison if convicted at trial. In February, a jury in federal court found the other three former Minneapolis police officers involved in Floyd’s arrest and death guilty of violating his civil rights.

Tou Thao, J Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Lane were found guilty of depriving Floyd of his right to medical care when Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck even after Floyd had stopped moving or breathing.

 

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