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George Floyd was a 46-year-old African-American man from Texas, who died in police custody after a white police officer held him on the ground for more than eight minutes. A video of Floyd’s arrest went viral on May 25, 2020, showing police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on his neck as he uttered his last words: ” I can’t breathe”.
The poignant last words have been used by Black Lives Matter protesters worldwide to oppose the treatment of people of colour at the hands of the police and criminal justice system.
Protests have been seen in countries around the world, calling for change.
Since the incident, Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter.
Three officers also on the scene, J Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao, have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting manslaughter.
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Widespread protests have called on the defunding of the police, for people of colour to be treated fairly and the removal of statues which honour those with ties to racial discrimination.
This has spread to the UK, and one historic moment saw the statue of 17th-century slave trader Edward Colston pulled from its plinth in Bristol and plunged into the nearby harbour.
The statue of Edward Colston had been a focal point of local controversy for years, with many citizens, including a former Bristol MP calling for it to be taken down.
Now a new documentary will explore the events which led to Floyd’s death and the protests which have followed.
Why was George Floyd stopped?
Floyd was stopped by police on May 25, when officers responded to a call from a grocery worker at Cup Foods in Minneapolis who alleged he had used a forged $20 note.
In a statement released by the Minneapolis Police Department, the officers responded to a report of a “forgery in progress”.
Owner of Cup Foods Mike Abumayyaleh – who wasn’t working at the time – told NBC Floyd was a regular customer, and had never caused any trouble before then.
On June 1, a medical examiner classified Floyd’s death as a homicide, stating his heart stopped after police restrained him and compressed his neck.
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According to the official information from the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office, the cause of death was listed as “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint and neck compression.”
The report stated: “[Floyd] experienced a cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained by law enforcement officer(s).”
Under “other significant conditions” the office said Floyd suffered from heart disease and hypertension.
The report also listed fentanyl intoxication and recent methamphetamine use, however, those were not listed under the cause of death.
A separate autopsy commissioned for Floyd’s family also stated the death to be a homicide.
The family’s attorney, Ben Crump said the report concluded he died of asphyxiation due to neck and back compression.
Sky will tonight air a documentary on the incident, which triggered the Black Lives Matter protests worldwide.
The title of the documentary – 8 Minutes and 46 Seconds: The Killing of George Floyd – refers to the amount of time Chauvin was kneeling on his neck before he died.
The documentary will be available to watch across Sky News, Sky Atlantic, Sky Witness and Sky Documentaries channels at 9pm tonight.
For non-Sky customers, the documentary will also be available on Sky’s YouTube channel.
The documentary features images of protesters and key civil rights campaigners including Martin Luther King and promises to put George Floyd’s death in the context of a long struggle for equality and to assess the significance of this moment in history we are all witnessing.
8 Minutes and 46 Seconds: The Killing of George Floyd will be aired tonight across Sky News, Sky Atlantic, Sky Witness, Sky Documentaries and Sky’s YouTube channel at 9pm.
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