May 25 – Two Minneapolis police officers respond to a call of a possible forgery shortly after 8 p.m. at a corner grocery. They encounter a Black man later identified as George Floyd. As they struggle to get him into a squad car, two more officers arrive. Floyd ends up face down on the street, with his hands cuffed behind him. Officer Derek Chauvin places his knee on Floyd‘s neck and holds it there for about nine minutes while bystanders shout at him to get off Floyd. Bystander video shows Floyd crying out “I can’t breathe” multiple times, then going limp before paramedics arrive. Floyd is pronounced dead at a hospital.
May 26 – Shortly after midnight, Minneapolis police release a statement titled “Man dies after medical incident during police interaction.” The statement says Floyd physically resisted officers, officers were able to handcuff him and that he appeared to be suffering from medical distress. The statement makes no mention of a restraint. Minutes after the statement goes out, bystander video of Floyd‘s arrest is posted online. Police release another statement hours later saying the FBI is joining the investigation. Chauvin and three other officers – Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao – are fired. That evening, protesters fill the intersection where Floyd was arrested and march about 2 miles to a police precinct. Some protesters damage windows and a squad car, and spray graffiti on the building. Tense skirmishes between police and protesters continue late into the evening.
May 27 – Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey calls for criminal charges against Chauvin. Protests turn to unrest, with some people breaking into businesses, starting fires and stealing goods. One man is shot dead. Protests spread to other cities, including Los Angeles and Memphis.
May 28 – Frey calls for calm in the streets. Gov. Tim Walz activates the Minnesota National Guard. That night, police abandon the 3rd Precinct station as protesters overtake it and set it on fire. Unrest spreads to neighboring St. Paul, where dozens of businesses are damaged and burned.
May 29 – Chauvin is arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Walz says the state will take over the response to the unrest, and Frey sets a nighttime curfew for the weekend. President Donald Trump tweets about “thugs” in Minneapolis protests and warns: “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Protests in Minneapolis become violent again, and demonstrations spread to Phoenix, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Houston, New York, Atlanta and beyond, with some becoming violent.
May 30 – Trump tries to walk back his tweet about looting, while Joe Biden speaks about systemic racism. Tens of thousands of people protest in cities from New York to Tulsa to Los Angeles, with police cars set ablaze and reports of injuries. Protesters set fires inside Reno’s city hall. One person is killed in protests in Indianapolis. In Washington, the National Guard deploys outside the White House.
May 31 – Walz names Attorney General Keith Ellison to lead prosecutions in Floyd’s death after activists express distrust of Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman and his office. Violent protests continue nationwide. Retailers such as Target, CVS, Apple and Walmart temporarily close stores or limit hours to curb damage. In Minneapolis, a tanker truck driver drives past barricades that had been set up to block off a highway and nearly hits a massive crowd of demonstrators; no protesters are injured.
June 1 – The county medical examiner classifies Floyd’s death as a homicide and said his heart stopped as police restrained him and compressed his neck. The medical examiner says Floyd also suffered from heart disease and hypertension, and listed fentanyl intoxication and recent methamphetamine use as “other significant conditions” but does not list those factors under cause of death. Meanwhile, Floyd’s brother Terrence Floyd visits the site of his brother’s arrest and pleads for calm in the streets. In Washington, Trump threatens to send the military to states that don’t stamp out violent protests.
June 2 – Minnesota’s Department of Human Rights launches a civil rights investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department in hopes of forcing widespread changes.
June 3 – Ellison files tougher charges against all four officers, including second-degree murder against Chauvin.
June 4 – The first of multiple funeral services for Floyd is held in Minneapolis, with a mural honoring him projected above his golden coffin and a eulogy by the Rev. Al Sharpton.
June 5 – Minneapolis bans chokeholds by police and requires officers who see colleagues use such chokeholds to stop them.
June 6 – Frey is booed by protesters outside his home after saying he doesn’t support “full abolition” of the police department. Massive, peaceful protests happen nationwide to demand police reform. Services are held for Floyd in Raeford, North Carolina, near his birthplace.
June 7 – A majority of the Minneapolis City Council says they support dismantling the police department. The idea later stalls before the city charter commission but sparks a national debate over police reform that spills into politics and reshapes fall campaigns. Floyd’s body is returned to Houston, the city where he grew up, for funeral and burial.
June 8 – Thousands pay their respects to Floyd in Houston.
June 9 – Floyd is buried in Houston.
June 10 – Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, testifies before the House Judiciary Committee for changes in holding police officers accountable. Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo says he will withdraw from contracts with the police union. Walz calls a legislative special session to address police reform issues.
June 11- Fourteen Minneapolis police officers sign an open letter condemning Chauvin’s actions and say they’re ready to back the chief’s promised overhaul of the department. Walz and Democratic legislative leaders propose statewide police reforms, including banning chokeholds. Key Republicans say later they will block most of the changes.
June 14 – The first resignations of police officers over Floyd’s death and the city’s response to protests become publicly known.
June 15 – Democrats who control the Minnesota House announce a $300 million economic aid proposal for businesses that were damaged or destroyed during the civil unrest.
June 16 – Trump signs an executive order to encourage better police practices and establish a database to track officers with a history of excessive use-of-force complaints. The Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training says it will review the licenses of the officers charged in Floyd’s death.
June 23 – Arradondo, the Minneapolis chief, calls Floyd’s death “murder” and says Chauvin knew what he was doing because he was trained in the dangers of positional asphyxiation.
June 28 – Frey and Arradondo announce policy changes, including one that prevents officers involved in using deadly force from reviewing body camera footage before completing an initial police report. Other changes follow in the summer and fall, including requiring officers to document attempts to de-escalate situations and changes to no-knock warrant procedure.
July 1 – The Republican-controlled Minnesota Senate opens hearings on the unrest that followed Floyd’s death, focusing on the destruction and police response. Democrats criticize them for not instead focusing on issues of racism and policing.
July 8 – Court makes transcripts of body camera videos public that show Chauvin telling Floyd: “It takes a heck of a lot of oxygen to talk.”
July 10 – Minneapolis attorney announces more than 150 Minneapolis police officers are filing work-related disability claims, with most citing post-traumatic stress disorder.
July 15 – Floyd’s family sues the city of Minneapolis and the four former officers charged in his death, alleging the officers violated Floyd’s rights when they restrained him, and that the city allowed a culture of excessive force, racism and impunity to flourish in its police force. Body-camera footage made public from two Minneapolis police officers show a panicked and fearful Floyd pleading with the officers, saying “I’m not a bad guy!” as they tried to wrestle him into a squad car.
July 20 – Organizers say at least 20,000 workers in 160 cities walked off the job as a national coalition of labor unions and racial and social justice organizations stage a mass walkout from work, dubbed “Strike for Black Lives.” Minneapolis authorities find a burned body in the ruins of a Minneapolis pawn shop that burned during the unrest following Floyd’s death.
July 21 – The Minnesota Legislature passes a broad slate of police accountability measures that includes a ban on neck restraints, a ban on chokeholds and so-called warrior-style training, and requires officers to stop colleagues who use excessive force. Walz later signs it.
Aug. 10 – Police body camera video is made public.
Aug. 17 – Trump visits Mankato, Minnesota, to tout law-and-order message.
Aug. 26 – Minneapolis Police Department announces overhaul of use-of-force policy to require officers to consider all reasonable alternatives before engaging in deadly force and use the least amount of force necessary. Minnesota’s National Guard is activated to quell unrest sparked by misinformation about a Black man’s suicide.
Sept. 23 – Protesters in Portland hurl firebombs at officers in the most violent night of four months of protests in the Oregon city following Floyd’s death.
Sept. 24 – Vice President Mike Pence and Ivanka Trump bring Trump’s law-and-order campaign message to Minneapolis, hosting a listening session with a “Cops for Trump” group and stopping at a salon damaged in unrest.
Oct. 7 – Chauvin posts $1 million bond and is released from prison, sparking more protests.
Nov. 5 – District Judge Peter Cahill rejects defense requests to move the officers’ trials; takes rare step of allowing cameras in a Minnesota courtroom, citing the coronavirus pandemic.
Nov. 13 – The Minneapolis City Council approves $500,000 to bring in outside police officers to help fill a staffing shortfall.
Dec. 10 – The Minneapolis City Council approves a budget shifting $8 million from the police department toward violence prevention and other programs, but declines to cap the department’s staffing.
Jan. 12 – Cahill rules Chauvin will be tried alone due to courtroom capacity issues. The other officers will be tried in August.
Feb. 1 – Frey and Arradondo announce that officers will no longer be allowed to turn off their body cameras to talk privately when they respond to calls.
Feb. 2 – A Minnesota judge approves a divorce settlement between Chauvin and his wife, citing concern that the divorce might be aimed at shielding assets.
Feb. 5 – Walz authorizes the Minnesota National Guard to deploy for potential civil unrest during Chauvin’s trial.
Feb. 12 – City leaders say George Floyd Square, the intersection blocked by barricades since Floyd’s death, will reopen to traffic after Chauvin’s trial. Minneapolis City Council approves $6.4 million to hire dozens of police officers.
Feb. 17 – City leaders and public safety officials announce beefed up security plan for Chauvin trial, which includes National Guard troops and hundreds of additional officers.
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