George Floyd’s Death Sparks Outrage Across the Nation

Ania Keenan, Staff Writer

Following the death of George Floyd by four Minneapolis police officers May 25, protestors have filled the streets of cities across the country. Floyd died by suffocation at the hands of four officers of the Minneapolis Police Department after being accused of using a counterfeit 20 dollar bill. Just 17 minutes after the first squad car arrived on the scene, Floyd was pinned beneath three officers and showing no signs of life. Officer Derek Chauvin held his knee over Floyd’s neck despite him expressing his inability to breathe, “Please I can’t breathe, my stomach hurts, my neck hurts, everything hurts. They’re going to kill me,” Floyd said.

After Chauvin held his knee over Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, while a group of bystanders screamed for him to stop, Floyd was dead. His death sparked outrage as it is the latest of countless black men and women killed by white police officers under circumstances that do not warrant fatal force. His death mirrors the fates of other young black men and women like Breonna Taylor who was shot in her bed when police walked into the wrong apartment and Ahmaud Arbery who was killed by white supremacists while running in his neighborhood.  

May 29 Chauvin was taken into custody by the Minneapolis Police Department and charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter without premeditation. At the end of two weeks of protest in over 2,000 cities across the U.S., the other officers involved with the case, Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao, were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder on June 4. 

Most major protests are in larger cities with some of the closest to Lamorinda taking place in Walnut Creek, Berkeley, Oakland, Concord, Vallejo, and San Francisco.

Although a majority of protests were peaceful, in several cities around the country, including Walnut Creek, Vallejo, and Oakland,  protests have turned into heated interaction with local riot police. 

Sean Monterrosa, a twenty-two-year-old San Francisco resident, was shot by a Vallejo police officer on June 4 as he knelt before a cop car with a hammer in his waistband in the parking lot of a Walgreens. Monterrosa’s death adds to the twelve people that have lost their lives while participating in protests nationwide. 

As a reaction to mass protests and looting the Bay Area, Contra Costa Country and several surrounding counties instituted curfews that allowed police to arrest protestors in violation of the order and prevent further looting. Curfew for Contra Costa was set for 8 p.m. and ran from June 1 to June 3. Preceding the curfew order both Orinda Bevmo and the Lafayette BART station experienced incidents of looting and vandalism.