This article originally appeared in the June edition of Fresno’s Community Alliance newspaper
On May 25, George Floyd, an African American resident of Minneapolis, Minn., was killed by a White police officer, Derek Chauvin, of the local police department. The officer knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes, almost three minutes of which occurred after Floyd became unresponsive, according to a criminal complaint filed against Chauvin.
Floyd was handcuffed and face down on the street. Chauvin was supported by three other officers who did nothing to relieve Floyd. The event was filmed by bystanders on smartphones. The Minneapolis Police Department later fired all of the officers involved in this event, and Chauvin was arrested on third-degree murder charges.
This killing was the latest of African American citizens by White police officers around the country in the past few months. In all cases, none of the victims were armed or committing any crime. After the Floyd killing, people in Minneapolis started to complain. The police repressed the protestors, and protests became violent including looting.
Around the country, protests erupted against another case of police brutality while President Trump threatened the use of force against protestors. In Fresno and other cities around the Central Valley, several peaceful protests took place. A quickly organized vigil took place on May 29 in downtown Fresno in solidarity with George Floyd.