A MOMENT of silence was held for George Floyd today to mark one year since he died gasping for air under the knee of ex-Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin.
Floyd died on May 25, 2020, shortly after he was arrested for allegedly attempting to use a counterfeit $20 bill to buy cigarettes at a grocery store.
His death triggered worldwide protests against racism and police brutality.
Derek Chauvin, one of the police officers involved, was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of Floyd.
Soon after the tragic incident, a video surfaced of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck while he laid on the ground for more than nine minutes. Floyd’s dying words, “I can’t breathe”, became a rallying cry for street demonstrators.
Prosecutors said Chauvin treated Floyd with particular cruelty during the lengthy restraint, saying Chauvin inflicted gratuitous pain and caused psychological distress to Floyd and to bystanders.
They also said Chauvin abused his position of authority as a police officer, committed his crime as part of a group of three or more people, and that he pinned Floyd down in the presence of children — including a nine-year-old girl who testified at trial that watching the restraint made her “sad and kind of mad.”
A rally in Minneapolis was held on May 23, 2021, to remember Floyd.
Hundreds of people gathered outside the Hennepin County Government Center, where Chauvin’s trial was held, including members of George Floyd’s family and others who lost loved ones to police encounters.
Many marchers carried signs, banners and pictures of Floyd, along with other men killed at the hands of the authorities.
Gov. Tim Walz issued a proclamation on Monday, asking Minnesotans to hold a one-minute silence for Floyd at 1pm local time Tuesday.
“George Floyd’s murder ignited a global movement and awakened many Minnesotans and people around the world to the systemic racism that our Black communities, Indigenous communities, and communities of color have known for centuries,” the proclamation read.
“This historic verdict was a step in the right direction, but our work to dismantle systematic racism and discrimination has not ended. True justice for George Floyd will come only through real, systemic change to prevent acts like this from happening again—when every member of every community, no matter their race, is safe, valued, and protected.”
Read our George Floyd live blog below for the very latest news and updates…
KAMALA HARRIS URGES CHANGE
Vice President Kamala Harris also issued a statement after meeting with George Floyd’s family on Tuesday, the first anniversary of his murder.
She urged Congress to “act with a sense of urgency” to pass a police reform bill.
“After Mr. Floyd was murdered, Senator Cory Booker, Representative Karen Bass, and I introduced the Justice in Policing Act to hold law enforcement accountable and build trust between law enforcement and the communities it serves,” her statement read.
“Congress must move swiftly and act with a sense of urgency. Passing legislation will not bring back those lives lost, but it will represent much-needed progress,”
President Joe Biden on Tuesday blasted the death of black people in police-involved shooting as “senseless killings.”
He said in a statement that George Floyd’s killing “launched a summer of protest we hadn’t seen since the Civil Rights era in the 1960s – protests that peacefully unified people of every race and generation to collectively say enough of the senseless killings.”
MINNEAPOLIS MAYOR SPEAKS OUT
Mayor Jacob Frey honroed George Floyd in a statemnet on Tuesday.
“It is unacceptable to say ‘Black Lives Matter’ only after a Black person has been murdered,” Frey said.
“We need to show it in our actions every day.
BIDEN CALLS FOR POLICE REFORM
In a statement issued after a meeting with George Floyd’s family on Tuesday afternoon, Biden reinforced his support for police reform – even as legislation stalls.
“To deliver real change, we must have accountability when law enforcement officers violate their oaths, and we need to build lasting trust between the vast majority of the men and women who wear the badge honorably and the communities they are sworn to serve and protect.
“We can and must have both accountability and trust in our justice system,” he added.
“WE HAVE TO ACT”
President Joe Biden spoke about the “battle for the soul of America” in a statement after he met with Goerge Floyd’s family in the White House on the first anniversary of his death.
“The Floyd family has shown extraordinary courge , especially his young daughter Gianna who I met again today.
“The day before her father’s funeral a year ago, Jill and I met the family and she told me, ‘Daddy changed the world.’
“He has,” Biden said.
“NO THREAT TO THE PUBLIC”
Minneapolis police said they do not believe there is a threat to the public after a shooting in George Floyd Square on Tuesday morning.
“No. We have no known threat to the public at this time,” they said.
One person was allegedly injured as protesters rushed for cover and up to 30 gunshots were fired.
“SPARKED A WORLDWIDE MOVEMENT”
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said “we can break this cycle” as he honored George Floyd on Tuesday.
Ellison oversaw the prosecution of Derek Chauvin in Floyd’s murder.
“Floyd’s death one year ago today sparked a worldwide movement because it didn’t happen in the flash of an instant: it took place over nine and a half excruciating minutes before people armed only with cell phones, who made sure it played out in front of the world,” Ellison said in the statement.
ONE PERSON INJURED IN GEORGE FLOYD SQUARE SHOOTING
Police said one person arrived at hospital with a gunshot wound after a reported shooting in George Floyd Square ahead of a memorial event on Tuesday.
Minneapolis Police confirmed they responded to a report of a shooting just after 10am CT.
The alleged victim has been described as in a “critical but non-life-threatening” condition.
“The incident is under investigation. There’s no one in custody at this time,” police spokesman John Elder told New York Daily News.
“HE SET THE WORLD IN RAGE”
George Floyd’s brother Philonese told reporters at the US Capitol on Tuesday that “today is the day that he set the world in a rage.”
“And people realized what’s going on in America, and we all said, ‘Enough is enough.’”
He added, “We need to be working together to make sure that people do not live in fear in America any more.”
MOMENT OF SILENCE IN MINNEAPOLIS
A moment of silence spread across Minneapolis at 1pm CT on Tuesday.
Stages set up for performers at memorial events were silent as activists halted tributes for nine minutes and 29 seconds in honor of Floyd’s death on this day last year.
WHITE HOUSE DEFENDS POLICE REFORM EFFORTS
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Tuesday pushed back on criticism that President Joe Biden has not done enough for police reform.
“We have been closely engaged with the negotiators and a range of parties on the Hill,” Psaki said during a press conference on Tuesday.
“We have also been respecting the space needed for the negotiators to have these discussions about where they can find common ground and where they can find agreement.”
MINNESOTA GOV HONORS FLOYD
Minnesota Gov Tim Walz on Tuesday said the must must honor George Floyd’s memory by “ensuring all people—particularly in our communities of color—are respected and protected by law enforcement.”
“In the days following his murder, Minnesotans raised their voices and called for real, meaningful change to prevent this from ever happening again,” Gov Walz said.
“Those calls for action spread across the world as his memory sparked a global movement.
“George Floyd didn’t ask to be an international symbol of the pain that black Americans have faced for generations, and yet, in the words of his daughter, he changed the world.”
PROTESTS BEGIN IN LOS ANGELES
George Floyd memorials have begun on the West Coast with a protest in Los Angeles.
BIDEN MEETS WITH GEORGE FLOYD’S FAMILY
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are currently meeting with Floyd’s family at the White House.
The meeting is being held in private.
The family will then meet with key senators.
TRIBUTES TO FLOYD BUILD
Activists were pictured setting up games of basketball as the memorials to George Floyd got underway in Minneapolis.
The memorial will end with a candlelight vigil at 8pm.
WINDOW BOARDED UP
A store window had to be boarded up on Tuesday after shots were fired near George Floyd Square.
Protesters began to run for cover but there were no injuries.
BIDEN: “WE HAVE TO ACT”
Biden said more action is needed as he honored George Floyd ahead of meeting with his family at the White House.
“It’s been one year since George Floyd was murdered,” Biden tweeted on Tuesday afternoon.
“In that time, George’s family has shown extraordinary courage.
“Last month’s conviction was a step towards justice – but we cannot stop there. We face an inflection point. We have to act.”
MEMORIAL BEGINS IN MINNEAPOLIS
A George Floyd memorial has begun in Minneapolis in Commons Park near US Bank Stadium.
It will include games, food, inflatable attractions for kids, and special performances from Grammy Award-winning artists and local talent.
Musicians began to take to the stage from 1pm EST onward.
During a rally in Minneapolis on Sunday night, Bridgett Floyd said that it had been a “long” and “painful” year for the family.
“It has been very frustrating for me and my family. For your life to change within a blink of an eye. I still don’t know why,” she told the crowd.
Floyd died while he was arrested by four cops after a grocery employee alleged that he had used a fake $20 bill.
CHANGED THE WORLD
Nancy Pelosi said that George Floyd’s daughter was right when she had claimed he changed the world.
“Gianna said, ‘My daddy will change the world.’ Indeed, her prediction is coming true,” Pelosi said as she met with Floyd’s family at the US Capitol.
GEORGE FLOYD POLICE REFORM BILL
The president had previously set a goal of having the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act passed by the anniversary of Floyd’s death.
Psaki said Friday that Biden now aims to have the bill on his desk “as quickly as possible.”
The bill, if passed, will establish a national registry of police misconduct and a ban on racial and religious profiling by law enforcement.
It will also call for an overhaul of qualified immunity for police officers.
“IT’S TIME WE FIX POLICING”
Rev Al Sharpton told a crowd gathered to mark George Floyd’s death on Tuesday that it was time to fix policing.
He spoke in New York City after he knelt with local lawmakers for nine minutes and 29 seconds.
It marked the same length of time Derek Chauvin knelt on George Floyd’s neck.
FLOYD’S FAMILY IN DC
George Floyd’s family continued to push for a police reform bill in his name on Tuesday as they met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep Karen Bass.
“They’ve been working tremendously to help push the issue of getting this law passed. I thank you all so much. Our families thank you that you are all here today,” George Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, said.
The legislation remains stalled in the Senate.
SHARPTON AND DE BLASIO KNEEL
Mayor Bill de Blasio took a knee alongside other New York City lawmakers and Rev Al Sharpton on Tuesday afternoon to mark George Floyd’s death.
DE BLASIO: FLOYD “SHOULD BE ALIVE”
Mayor Bill de Blasio will kneel to mark the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s death on Tuesday.
De Blasio said in a press conference on Tuesday morning that Floyd “should be alive right now.”
“It was unacceptable and beyond,” he added.
“But what we saw after this murder was something better — people speaking out, people coming together, people fighting for change.”