How Did George Floyd Die?


We are in the midst of widespread race riots unlike anything since the 1960s. They started because a white policeman, Derek Chauvin, appears to have killed a black suspect, George Floyd. Who are these two men and what happened between them?

Officer Chauvin, 44, was a 19-year veteran of the Minneapolis Police Department. He had no fewer than 18 conduct complaints filed against him over his career, but anyone can file a complaint, valid or not. Two resulted in reprimands. Officer Chauvin also received two departmental medals of valor, one in 2008 and another in 2010. He also worked as a bouncer in a club.

George Floyd, 46, was originally from Houston, where he was a star football player. In 2007, he was charged with armed robbery in a home invasion, and in 2009 was sentenced to five years on prison. After he got out, he moved to Minneapolis, where he worked as a bouncer in the same club where Officer Chauvin also worked on a security detail. The two might have known each other, but the owner of the building that housed the club says one worked outdoors and the other indoors, and does not think they were acquainted.

We know a lot about what happened when these two men met, thanks to surveillance and bystander video, as well as the criminal complaint filed against Officer Chauvin. All officers had their body cameras turned on the whole time, so although the footage has not been made public, it is the basis for a lot of what is in the complaint.

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