Rallies, vigils and memorials have been planned across the US on Wednesday, the two year anniversary of George Floyd’s death (Pictures: AP/Getty Images/REX)
Wednesday marks two years since George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer.
The 46-year-old black man’s death at the hands of white police officer Derek Chauvin sparked protests and calls for police reform across the US and globally. Horrific video footage of his murder taken by a bystander triggered calls for systemic change on a historic scale.
Two years later, many say not enough has changed since Floyd’s death.
PJ Hill, a vice president of the Minneapolis NAACP, said he fears the US is ‘missing a moment’ to take action.
‘Although everybody’s heart seems to be in the right place, their actions are not matching up as fast,’ he told the Washington Post. ‘We’re dealing with big, deep cultural issues, systemic issues that have build up for hundreds of years and that takes time.’
Memorials, rallies and vigils have been planned both in Minneapolis and across the US on the second anniversary of Floyd’s death.
Here is what has happened:
Police reform attempts
Memorials have been erected across the city, including at George Floyd Square (Picture: REX)
Following Floyd’s death, cities and states began to reconsider public safety and policing. Some cities said they would cut police budgets and reinvest in community programs, including the city of Minneapolis, where Floyd was killed.
Minneapolis never disbanded its police department, despite the majority of city council members vowing to create a new system of public safety. Instead, the city spent more than $6million to recruit more police officers.
Before taking office, President Joe Biden urged Congress to get a piece of police reform legislation on then-President Donald Trump’s desk.
But two years later, a bill bearing Floyd’s name that would overhaul policing died in the Republican-led Senate, even after Biden pleaded with legislators to pass it.
George Floyd’s family settles suit against Minneapolis
Protesters march through downtown Minneapolis during a Silent March for Justice (Picture: Reuters)
Nearly a year after Floyd’s death, the city of Minneapolis agreed to pay $27million to settle a civil lawsuit from his family following his death in police custody.
Ben Crump, a civil rights lawyer who represented Floyd’s family, said at the time that the move could set a valuable example for other communities.
‘After the eyes of the world rested on Minneapolis in its darkest hour, now the city can be a beacon of hope and light and change for cities across America and across the globe,’ he said in March 2021.
Of that money, his family pledged to donate $500,000 to the neighborhood where police stopped Floyd the night he was killed.
Derek Chauvin found guilty
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is now in prison on a 22 1/2 year murder sentence (Picture: AP)
Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes as Floyd repeatedly called out ‘I can’t breathe’. A grand jury in April 2021 found Chauvin guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Chauvin is now in prison serving a 22½-year murder sentence. He also pleaded guilty to violating Floyd’s civil rights, admitting he willfully deprived Floyd of his right to be free from unreasonable force by a police officer. He will be sentenced to between 20 and 25 years for that violation.
Other cops convicted
Former Minneapolis police officers Derek Chauvin, J Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao were convicted on civil rights charges for violating George Floyd’s rights (Pictures: AP)
The three other officers on the scene who stood by and allowed Chauvin to kill Floyd, Thomas Lane, J Alexnader Kueng and Tou Taho, were convicted in February on federal civil rights charges.
Earlier this month, Lane pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting manslaughter in Floyd’s killing. He will be sentenced to three years, served concurrently with his federal sentencing. His sentencing in state court has been set for September 21. A sentencing date for the federal case has not been set.
Kueng and Thao have not pleaded guilty in the state case. The state is preparing for their trial on charges of second-degree unintentional murder and second-degree manslaughter to begin June 13, Ellison said.
An investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department found that officers engaged in ‘discriminatory, race-based policing,’ routinely used excessive force on people of color and failed to hold officers accountable.
President Biden to sign police reform executive order
President Joe Biden (right) is poised to sign a police reform executive order on the two-year anniversary of George Floyd’s death (Picture: Metro)
Biden is expected to sign a police reform executive order on Wednesday. He will be joined in Washington, DC, by Floyd’s family, whom he met with exactly a year ago on the first anniversary of his death and assured he would pass a police reform bill.
The president told the family he was committed to ‘doing everything to make sure Floyd’s legacy was respected’.
The executive order would create a national database of officers who have been fired for misconduct and require federal agencies to overhaul their policies on use-of-force.
It would also ban the use of chokeholds unless deadly force is authorized and require police to receive anti-bias training.
Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].
For more stories like this, check our news page.