Music News

Demonstrations against police violence grip nation in wake of George Floyd

Hannah Peters/Getty Images

The death of George Floyd, a black man who died on Memorial Day after he was pinned down by a white Minnesota police officer, has sparked outrage and protests in Minneapolis and across the United States.

The National Guard has been activated in Washington, D.C., and 17 states: Colorado, Georgia, Kentucky, Minnesota, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, Utah, North Dakota, California, Missouri, Virginia, Kansas, Illinois and Nevada.

Police have made nearly 1,700 arrests across 22 U.S. cities since Thursday. 

Curfews have since been enacted in cities including Minnesota, San Francisco, Portland, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Kansas City, and Washington, D.C.

In the wake of Floyd’s death, murder and manslaughter charges have been filed against Derek Chauvin, the officer who prosecutors say held his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. Chauvin and the other three officers at the scene have been fired. The Department of Justice is investigating.

 In addition, Chauvin’s wife — Kellie Chauvin — is now filing for divorce, according to her attorneys.  The Sekula Law Office said in a statement Friday night, “While Ms. Chauvin has no children from her current marriage, she respectfully requests that her children, her elder parents, and her extended family be given safety and privacy during this difficult time.”

Derek Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter in the death of Floyd on Friday. More arrests and charges are anticipated, according to Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman.

George Floyd has been described by friends and family as “a gentle giant.”

Floyd spent most of his life in Houston, Texas, and grew up in the Third Ward. While attending Yates High School, Floyd, who stood 6 feet, 6 inches tall, was a star tight end on the football team and played in the 1992 state championship.

In 2007, Floyd was charged with armed robbery and sentenced to five years in prison as part of a plea deal in 2009. His friends say he moved to Minneapolis to start a new life and was working several jobs.

Floyd was known by friends and family for his faith and dedication to his church community. Church leaders said he helped organize basketball charity events, bible study sessions and other related activities.

By Megan Stone
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.