Who was George Floyd? 6 things to know about man who died in Minneapolis police custody

MINNEAPOLIS — Demonstrations in Minneapolis and other cities, such as Los Angeles and Memphis, Tennessee, continued early Thursday following the death of a man in Minneapolis police custody Monday.

>> PREVIOUS COVERAGE: George Floyd’s family says Minneapolis police officers should face murder charges

George Floyd’s arrest was captured in a 10-minute viral video that showed a police officer holding his knee to Floyd’s neck. Floyd was later pronounced dead.

>> PREVIOUS COVERAGE: 4 Minneapolis police officers fired after man dies in police custody

Four officers involved in the incident were fired Tuesday. Authorities, including the FBI, are investigating the case.

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Here's what we know so far about Floyd:

1. The 46-year-old St. Louis Park resident was a security guard at Conga Latin Bistro in Minneapolis. According to the Star Tribune, Floyd had worked at the restaurant for five years and rented a home from the restaurant’s owner, Jovanni Thunstrom.

RIP, Sad, siempre te recordaremos

Posted by Conga Latin Bistro on Tuesday, May 26, 2020

In a Facebook post Tuesday, Thunstrom described Floyd, who grew up in Houston, as not only his employee but also "a very good friend."

"Watching this video makes tears come out," Thunstrom wrote. "My body is full of emotions, of questions without answer."

Today I woke up to hear a very sad news. I saw a video of a black man been choke to dead by a Minneapolis police officer...

Posted by Jovanni Thunstrom on Tuesday, May 26, 2020

He also told the Star Tribune that Floyd "was family."

"His co-workers and friends loved him," Thunstrom said.

2. One restaurant patron described Floyd, who was known as "Big Floyd," as a "gentle giant." Conga customer Jessi Zendejas said in a Facebook post that the security guard "loved his hugs from his regulars," according to the Star Tribune.

"[He] would be mad if you didn't stop to greet him because he honestly loved seeing everyone and watching everyone have fun," Zendejas wrote on social media.

Thunstrom echoed the sentiment in an interview with KSTP.

"He wanted me to teach him how to Bachata dance, and I gave up because I couldn't turn him because he was 6-foot-6," Thunstrom told the news outlet, adding that Floyd "wasn't the bad guy."

"He had other problems, but we all have problems," Thunstrom told KSTP. "He wasn't the type that was aggressive, disrespectful. He was a very calm, nice guy. I want people to remember him that way."

3. Floyd's former partner, Christina Dawson, paid tribute to him in a Facebook post. "They really killed my baby!!" wrote Dawson, who told the Star Tribune that the pair had stayed friends after their split.

"I don't even know what to do, y'all," she continued. "This is not real!"

4. Minneapolis police said Floyd resisted arrest after officers responded to a forgery call Monday involving a suspect who "appeared to be under the influence." In a statement, the department said officers arrived to find Floyd in his car and asked him to step out.

"After he got out, he physically resisted officers," the statement continued. "Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress. Officers called for an ambulance. He was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center by ambulance, where he died a short time later. At no time were weapons of any type used by anyone involved in this incident."

Read the full statement here.

5. The officer captured on video holding his knee to Floyd’s neck has been identified as Derek Chauvin. Attorney Tom Kelly told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Chauvin is his client but did not release any additional details.

Earlier Tuesday, Chauvin and the three other officers involved in the incident were fired from the Police Department, officials said.

“This is the right call,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey tweeted.

State and federal authorities are now investigating the incident, and Minneapolis police are conducting their own internal investigation, the AP reported.

6. Floyd’s family said the police officers involved should face murder charges. “I would like for those officers to be charged with murder because that’s exactly what they did,” Floyd’s sister, Bridgett Floyd, said Wednesday during an appearance on NBC’s “Today” show. “They murdered my brother. He was crying for help.”

Attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Floyd’s family, said videos showed an officer kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes. He likened Floyd’s death to that of Eric Garner, who died July 17, 2014, after being placed in a chokehold by police in New York City. Video of that situation showed Garner pleading with police for air as officers ignored him.

“It’s an ‘I can’t breathe’ again case in 2020, and it’s worse than Eric Garner in many ways because you hear the people even pleading with them, ‘Please get your knee off his neck. Have some humanity. This is a human being,’” Crump said.

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