Following his death last year, George Floyd – an African American man – became a global icon, triggering protests against systemic racism and police brutality.  

On the evening of May 25, 2020, Floyd, 46, bought a pack of cigarettes at a convenience store in South Minneapolis. 

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However, the shopkeeper believed that Floyd had used a counterfeit $20 bill and called the police after he refused to return the cigarettes.

Soon the officers arrived and handcuffed him. As they tried to put Floyd into the patrol car, he resisted which led to a struggle. Soon he ended up face down on the street with his hands cuffed behind his back.

Derek Chauvin, a 17-year veteran of the Minneapolis police department, held his knee on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes until he passed out and died.

As Floyd complained repeatedly that he could not breathe, bystanders urged Chauvin to get off his neck.

A 17-year-old girl took a video of the arrest with her smartphone and the footage went viral. The video shows him going limp and being carried away by police.

He was pronounced dead in hospital an hour later.

But the video of Floyd’s death sparked protests against racial injustice and police brutality across the United States and around the world.

Protestors — Black and white — took to the streets in the largest protests in the United States since the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

Most demonstrations were peaceful but some were marred by arson and looting and unrest continued in the Oregon city of Portland throughout the summer.

A police station was set on fire in Minneapolis, where National Guard troops helped restore order.

Chauvin was fired by the Minneapolis police force and went on trial in March charged with murder and manslaughter for Floyd’s death.

The livestreamed trial gripped the country and featured endless replays of the video of Floyd’s fatal arrest and emotional testimony from witnesses who recounted their failed efforts to save his life.

On April 20, a jury found Chauvin guilty of all three charges and the United States breathed a collective sigh of relief.

Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison on June 25, 2021.