How George Floyd Was Killed in Police Custody


The Times has reconstructed the death of George Floyd on May 25. Security footage, witness videos and official documents show how a series of actions by officers turned fatal. (This video contains scenes of graphic violence.)

On May 25, Minneapolis police officers arrested George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, after a convenience store employee called 911 and told the police that Mr. Floyd had bought cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill. Seventeen minutes after the first squad car arrived at the scene, Mr. Floyd was unconscious and pinned beneath three police officers, showing no signs of life.

By combining videos from bystanders and security cameras, reviewing official documents and consulting experts, The New York Times reconstructed in detail the minutes leading to Mr. Floyd’s death. Our video shows officers taking a series of actions that violated the policies of the Minneapolis Police Department and turned fatal, leaving Mr. Floyd unable to breathe, even as he and onlookers called out for help.

The day after Mr. Floyd’s death, the Police Department fired all four of the officers involved in the episode. On May 29, the Hennepin County attorney, Mike Freeman, announced third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges against Derek Chauvin, the officer seen most clearly in witness videos pinning Mr. Floyd to the ground. Mr. Chauvin, who is white, kept his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck for at least eight minutes and 15 seconds, according to a Times analysis of timestamped video. Our video investigation shows that Mr. Chauvin did not remove his knee even after Mr. Floyd lost consciousness and for a full minute and 20 seconds after paramedics arrived at the scene.

On June 3, Hennepin County prosecutors added a more serious second-degree murder charge against Mr. Chauvin and also charged each of the three other former officers — Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao — with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.

On June 18, the Hennepin County attorney’s office said that its criminal complaint misstated the amount of time Mr. Chauvin kept his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck. The complaint originally said that Mr. Chauvin had done so for eight minutes and 46 seconds, a length of time that became a symbol and rallying cry for protesters. Responding to inquiries from journalists who noted a discrepancy with the durations listed in the complaint, the office said the actual time was seven minutes and 46 seconds. But The Times’s own analysis of the video shows that this revised time is also incorrect.

“It makes no difference,” said Jamar Nelson, who works with the families of crime victims in Minneapolis. “The bottom line is, it was long enough to kill him, long enough to execute him.”

Evan Hill is a journalist on the Visual Investigations team, which combines traditional reporting with advanced digital forensics. @evanchill

Ainara Tiefenthäler is a video journalist. She covers breaking news, Europe, political extremism, and L.G.B.T. and women's issues. She joined The Times in 2015. @tiefenthaeler

Christiaan Triebert is a journalist on the Visual Investigations team, which combines traditional reporting with advanced digital forensics. @trbrtc

Haley Willis is a Visual Investigations reporter with the New York Times video team. @heytherehaIey


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