It’s not just about the physical cause of George Floyd’s untimely death when people ask, “How did George Floyd die?”. During the investigation, they’re looking into an incident that inspired worldwide protests and called for an in-depth examination of racial injustice, police brutality, and the American justice system.
The Fateful Day
May 25, 2020, in the city of Minneapolis, George Floyd, 46-years-old black man, found himself in a situation he would tragically die in. It started with an ordinary purchase. He was accused of using a fake $20 bill at a local store, which led to his arrest. However, what was supposed to be a routine detention quickly spiralled into an unjust display of excessive force.
The Harrowing Encounter
A white cop, 44˗year˗old Derek Chauvin, pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck during the arrest. It took over nine agonising minutes for Floyd to be handcuffed, vulnerable, and begging for his life, repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe.”
Two other officers also came to help restrain Floyd in the incident, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane. Witnesses, both onlookers and those recording the disturbing scene, begged the officers to let Floyd breathe. But they didn’t listen to their pleas.
Seeking Clarity Through Autopsies
A few months after Floyd’s tragic passing, two autopsies were conducted to shed light on why he died. One was requested by the local government, and the other was independently organised by his family.
The autopsy reports agree: George Floyd died of asphyxia, caused by neck compression. This technical term underscores the brutal truth: Floyd had died choked.
There were some mentions of Floyd’s pre˗existing heart conditions and his presence of fentanyl. It wasn’t clear that these factors were the primary cause of his tragic death, although they were mentioned; they weren’t cited as the primary cause. The emphasis was clear: long˗term neck compression was what killed him.
A Global Call for Justice
In addition to being a sad headline, George Floyd’s death became a symbol. Symbolising the deeply entrenched racial biases, the excessive force that some police officers use, and the need for reform in many aspects of the American justice and law enforcement systems.
During the next few days, “Black Lives Matter” chants reverberated in cities around the world, not just in America. His last words became a rallying cry for people who want equality, justice, and a stop to racial discrimination, and his face appeared on murals, placards, and T˗shirts.
Reflecting on George Floyd’s Legacy
It’s important to remember that behind the global movement and George Floyd’s symbol was a man. Just like Lane Frost in the world of rodeo, Floyd was a man with hopes, dreams, and family. Both men’s lives were cut short in ways that shouldn’t have happened.
I’m not just talking about one individual. I’m talking about systemic issues, racial prejudice, and a need for change and reform. As his story illustrates, there’s still a lot to be done, voices that need to be heard, and a long way to go before justice, equality, and respect can be achieved.
How did George Floyd die?
As the police arrested George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for over nine minutes while he was handcuffed and lying face down. Floyd pleaded for help, but the restraints still held on. According to two autopsies, he died of asphyxia due to neck compression, so it was a homicide.
Who was George Floyd?
The death of 46˗year˗old George Floyd sparked global protests against police brutality and systemic racism. Floyd was known as a gentle giant by his loved ones.
How did the incident with George Floyd begin?
In this story, Floyd made a purchase with a counterfeit $20 bill. The clerk reported it, and police were dispatched to the scene. Floyd was found in his car nearby. The situation escalated, eventually ending with Floyd being pinned down.
What did the autopsies reveal about Floyd’s cause of death?
Floyd’s family and the autopsy office conducted two autopsies. Both determined Floyd’s death was a homicide. Asphyxia was the primary cause of death. Although Floyd had heart problems and fentanyl, those weren’t the direct causes, they were contributing factors.