George Floyd
October 1, 2020

George Floyd's death in the hands of Minneapolis police led to nationwide protests and pledges from some police to cut back on heavy-handed crowd control tactics. But that message didn't make it to Floyd's burial service, where local and federal law enforcement forces were prepared to use "deadly force" if they encountered civil unrest, documents obtained by Vice News reveal.

"As a horse-drawn carriage took Floyd's body to its final resting place" earlier this year in Pearland, Texas, "at least six 'sniper teams' were in place on rooftops and authorized to open fire if the situation spiraled out of control," Vice reports via planning records. Pearland officials also brought in U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents to the city to monitor the situation. That included members of the tactical BORTAC unit equipped with "military-grade firepower," Vice writes.

The documents spell out the conditions under which certain types of officers could take action. "Officers in soft uniforms" were ready to monitor to "large, peacefully assembling" crowds, while BORTAC was "geared up ready to deploy" if "verbal aggressive language and empty water bottles" were seen. "Deadly force is authorized anytime," the planning records concluded. All of this was done in anticipation of tens of thousands of mourners showing up to the service, the records show. Just a few hundred arrived.

Ben Crump, an attorney for the Floyd family, said he and the family didn't know about the sniper teams and other oversight. Pearland police spokesperson contradicted the documents in saying the sniper teams were brought on in anticipation of "protests from Second Amendment groups or counter-protesters to those groups." Read more at Vice News. Kathryn Krawczyk

July 8, 2020

Newly released transcripts of Minneapolis police body-camera footage filed in state court Tuesday shed more light on the final moments before Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who faces second-degree murder and manslaughter charges, killed George Floyd in May. The transcripts were filed as part of an effort by another officer, Thomas Lane, to have charges that he aided and abetted Floyd's murder thrown out, The New York Times reports.

One of the more harrowing moments in the transcripts occurs when Floyd, who was arrested on suspicion of using counterfeit money at a nearby store, was on the ground with Chauvin's knee on his neck pleading for his life, a scene captured on video by a passerby. The new transcripts reveal that after Floyd said the officers were going to kill him, Chauvin responded by telling him to "stop talking, stop yelling, it takes a heck of a lot of oxygen to talk."

Later, Lane, who was helping Chauvin restrain Floyd, said he was worried Floyd was having a medical emergency. "Well, that's why we got the ambulance coming," Chauvin replied, as shown in one of the transcripts. Read more at The New York Times. Tim O'Donnell

June 29, 2020

A judge on Monday set a tentative trial date for the four former Minneapolis police officers charged in the death of George Floyd.

Judge Peter A. Cahill tentatively scheduled a March 8 trial date, with a pretrial hearing set for Sept. 11. Derek Chauvin, the officer who placed his knee on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes, has been charged with second-degree murder, while Tou Thao, Thomas Lane, and J. Alexander Kueng have been charged with aiding and abetting Chauvin. Cahill said he expects their attorneys will file motions for separate trials.

Cahill did not issue a gag order, but did say officials, friends, and family members should refrain from making public statements about the case, as they endanger "the right to a fair trial." If the comments continue, he is prepared to move the trial out of Minneapolis.

The officers were fired after Floyd's death on May 25, which sparked anti-racism and anti-police brutality protests across the United States. Chauvin is in a state prison, held on $1 million bail, while Thao is in jail on $750,000 bail. Lane and Kueng are both free on bond. Catherine Garcia

June 15, 2020

The Minneapolis Police Department on Monday released an audio recording of a dispatcher who watched via surveillance cameras the arrest of George Floyd and shared their concerns with a supervisor.

Floyd, an unarmed black man, died after a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, placed his knee on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes. The dispatcher's call was made at 8:30 p.m. on May 25, about the time Floyd was in an ambulance on his way to a hospital. The dispatcher told their supervisor, "I don't know, you can call me a snitch if you want to, but we have the cameras up for 320's call and ... I don't know if they had to use force or not, but they got something out of the back of the squad, and all of them sat on this man, so I don't know if they needed you or not, but they haven't said anything to me yet."

The Minneapolis Police Department also released the transcripts of two 911 calls made in the wake of Floyd's death. One call was made by an unidentified bystander, who said a police officer "pretty much just killed this guy that wasn't resisting arrest." The other caller was an off-duty firefighter, who said he "literally watched police officers not take a pulse and not do anything to save a man, and I am a first responder myself, and I literally have it on video camera ... I just happened to be on a walk ... they [expletive] killed him." The transcript noted the 911 dispatcher attempted to transfer him to a supervisor, but the call was disconnected. Catherine Garcia

June 13, 2020

Around 16 years before George Floyd was killed in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota, he may have been set up by a Houston police officer who arrested him for a minor drug offense, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg told The Wall Street Journal.

Floyd was arrested over what Ogg, Houston's top prosecutor, described as a "one-rock, $10 dollar crack buy" when he was still living in Houston in 2004. He served time in state jail for the offense.

After examining the case, Ogg now believes the arresting officer, Gerald Goines, "was likely lying," pointing to multiple red flags, including the fact that Goines was the only police witness. Plus, the deal was "very small time" and not the type of case her administration "would accept for charges." But the most significant cause for skepticism appears to be Goines' notorious reputation. Floyd's case was first flagged as part of a broader investigation into Goines' conduct after the narcotics officer was charged with murder last year and allegedly lied to obtain a search warrant for a drug raid in which two people were killed.

Goines has pleaded not guilty to the murder charge and his criminal case is still pending — his attorney said Goines supports the calls for police reform sparked by Floyd's death, but that Ogg's findings are "nothing but a political press move."

Per the Journal, Ogg is considering expanding the review of Goines' cases in an effort to offer relief to those who may have been wrongfully accused, arrested, and convicted. Read more at The Wall Street Journal. Tim O'Donnell

June 9, 2020

Former Vice President Joe Biden remotely delivered remarks at George Floyd's funeral in Houston on Tuesday after meeting with his family earlier this week, calling for racial justice and saying the U.S. can't "turn away" from racism.

Biden spoke via a pretaped video message at the funeral, which took place at the Fountain of Praise church just over two weeks after Floyd's killing in police custody set off a wave of protests across the country.

"To George's family and friends, Jill and I know the deep hole in your hearts when you bury a piece of your soul deep in this Earth," Biden said. "As I've said to you privately, we know. We know you will never feel the same again."

Floyd's family has had to grieve in public, which Biden called a "burden, a burden that is now your purpose to change the world for the better in the name of George Floyd."

In the wake of Floyd's killing, Biden said the U.S. can't "once again turn away from racism that stings at our very soul," and "now is the time for racial justice."

"Because when there is justice for George Floyd, we will truly be on our way to racial justice in America," Biden said.

The Democratic presidential nominee previously met with Floyd's family in person, after which attorney Benjamin Crump said he "listened, heard their pain, and shared in their woe."

Members of Floyd's family also delivered powerful remarks at the funeral. His niece vowed "justice will be served" and his brother thanked God for "giving me my own personal superman." Brendan Morrow

June 9, 2020

Thousands of mourners gathered on Monday to pay their respects to George Floyd in Houston, where he grew up. American flags lined the route of a procession to the Fountain of Praise church, where people filed by Floyd's casket. A funeral will be held Tuesday for Floyd, an African-American man who died in police custody after a white Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes. His death sparked worldwide protests against police brutality. "I'm glad he got the send-off he deserved," Marcus Williams, a 46-year-old black Houston resident, told Reuters. "I want the police killings to stop. I want them to reform the process to achieve justice, and stop the killing." Harold Maass

June 8, 2020

The former Minneapolis police officer charged with murder in the killing of George Floyd has just made his first appearance in court.

Derek Chauvin, who has been charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter after kneeling on Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes, on Monday appeared from jail via video for a hearing at the Hennepin County courthouse and had his bail set at up to $1.25 million, The New York Times reports. The judge set his unconditional bail at $1.25 million, and he "was offered a reduced bail of $1 million if he agrees to certain conditions," such as not working in security or law enforcement and not contacting Floyd's family, CNN reports.

Chauvin's bail was raised after previously being set at $500,000, according to The Associated Press.

Days after video of Floyd's killing emerged and sparked nationwide outrage and protests, Chauvin was arrested and hit with charges of third-degree murder and manslaughter, and last week, he was hit with a second-degree murder charge. Chauvin is next scheduled to appear in court on June 29. Brendan Morrow

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