Who was George Floyd and what happened during arrest that led to his death?


The police death of George Floyd has sparked peaceful protests and scenes of violent unrest amid calls for justice in the US city of Minneapolis.

Mr Floyd, who worked as a club security guard, died after he was pinned down in the street while being arrested by four police officers.

A white police officer, Derek Chauvin, 44, put his knee on the back of Mr Floyd's neck for about eight minutes as the 46-year-old unarmed black man lay face down gasping for air and pleading "I can't breathe". A bystander shouted "you're killing him".

Mr Floyd was arrested after he allegedly tried to use a fake $20 bill at a corner shop on Monday night, and police claim he was "under the influence" in the driver's seat of a car.

Witnesses have disputed the Minneapolis Police Department's claims that he was resisting arrest.

Sign up to get the Mirror's biggest and best stories delivered straight to your inbox at www.mirror.co.uk/email.

George Floyd, with his fiancee Courteney Ross, worked as a security guard (Image: Facebook)

A witness captured video of Mr Floyd begging to be freed as police pinned him to the street and witnesses screamed "get off him" before he lost consciousness.

He was later pronounced dead in hospital.

The footage was posted on social media and quickly sparked outrage and calls for the officers to be charged with murder.

Protests have taken place in Minneapolis every night since Mr Floyd's death and the National Guard has been activated to try to restore order in the Midwest city after peaceful rallies gave way to gunfire, arson, looting and vandalism.

The fallout from Mr Floyd's death has overshadowed the man himself.

Who was George Floyd?

Mr Floyd, a 46-year-old dad, was originally from Houston, Texas

Mr Floyd lived in St Louis Park, a suburb of Minneapolis, and moved to the state of Minnesota from Houston, Texas, where he lived most of his life, about six years ago.

Known as "Big Floyd" to family and close friends due to his 6ft 6in frame, for five years he had worked as a security guard at Conga Latin Bistro, a restaurant and live music club that was shut due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Mr Floyd, described as a "gentle giant" by family, was a father whose two daughters, aged six and 22, from a previous relationship and granddaughter lived in Houston. He never met his granddaughter before his death.

In the video, he is heard calling out for his mother, who died about a year ago.

His siblings and his fiancée, Courteney Ross, have called for the four officers involved in his arrest to be charged with murder.

His brother, Philonise, told CNN: "Knowing my brother is to love my brother. He's a gentle giant, he don't hurt anybody.

"He was a very loving person and he didn't deserve what happened to him."

Ms Ross, his fiancée, told CBS News: “He stood up for people, he was there for people when they were down, he loved people that were thrown away.

"We prayed over every meal, we prayed if we were having a hard time, we prayed if we were having a good time.

“He came to Minnesota to get a fresh start, and Minneapolis to him we like this place where people were just kind and open to him."

Mr Floyd was friends with former professional basketball player Stephen Jackson, who described him as his "twin" in an Instagram tribute.

Why was Mr Floyd arrested?

The moment Mr Floyd was arrested by Minneapolis police officers (Image: Police handout)

Four Minneapolis Police Department officers encountered Mr Floyd after a 911 call from a worker at the Cup Foods corner shop just after 8pm on Monday night.

Owner Mahmod Abumayaleh, who was not there at the time, told CBS News that one of his employees called the emergency line because Mr Floyd tried to use a fake $20 bill to buy cigarettes.

According to a transcript of the 911 call, a staff member claimed a customer passed "fake bills" and was sitting on a car parked outside after leaving the store.

The caller said the man refused to give the cigarettes back and was "awfully drunk", "not in control of himself" and "not acting right".

After taking a description of the man and the car, the 911 operator tells the staff member: "All right, I’ve got help on the way.

"If that vehicle or that person leaves before we get there, just give us a call back, otherwise we’ll have squads out there shortly, OK?"

Despite it being a non-violent alleged offence, Mr Abumayaleh said his employee followed protocol by calling the emergency line.

What happened when police arrived?

A witness' video shows officers dragging Mr Floyd out of a vehicle

Minneapolis police said its officers responded to a "forgery in progress" and found Mr Floyd, who was with two other people, inside a parked car.

Following Mr Floyd's death, the force claimed he "appeared to be under the influence" and "physically resisted" as he got out of the car.

Footage captured by a witness shows a struggle as Mr Floyd is dragged out of the driver's seat of the car and handcuffed.

CCTV from the Dragon Wok restaurant shows him handcuffed and sat against a wall as police speak to him and the two other people - a man who got out of the front passenger seat and a woman who exited the back.

Officer Derek Chauvin kneels on Mr Floyd's neck during the arrest (Image: Facebook/ZUMA Wire/Shutterstock)

An officer lifts Mr Floyd back onto his feet, and he is seen speaking as he is marched across the street towards police vehicles outside Cup Foods. The man and woman who were with him are spoken to by police.

Mr Abumayaleh, the owner of the shop, told CBS News CCTV from his store shows Mr Floyd was not resisting officers during the incident.

He said he has been asked not to release the video to the public.

Rashad West, who owns the Dragon Wok restaurant, told CNN after reviewing his CCTV footage: "Did not see any resistance, not at all."

CCTV footage obtained by Fox 9 shows handcuffed Mr Floyd falling to the floor along the driver's side of a waiting patrol car after being taken across the street. A second police vehicle blocks the view of the surveillance camera.

Video taken by witness Darnella Frazier, who began recording moments after Mr Floyd fell, shows him pinned to the floor next to the rear passenger side of a police vehicle.

In footage taken from a different angle, three officers are seen pinning him down while a fourth stands close by.

For about eight minutes, Chauvin kneels on the back of Mr Floyd's neck as he repeatedly gasps "please, I can't breathe" before losing consciousness.

Witnesses beg the officers to get off him.

One of the officers shouts: “Get up, get in the car."

Mr Floyd responds: "I will, I can't move."

Paramedics arrive and load Mr Floyd into an ambulance, where his cuffs are removed.

An official EMS report said paramedics were called at 8.30pm and they arrived two minutes later.

Mr Floyd was unresponsive and did not have a pulse.

He was pronounced dead at the Hennepin County Medical Center at 9.25pm, about 90 minutes after police were called to the store.