Splashed across placards, chanted by protesters and graffitied on walls: it was the slogan of 2020. ‘I can’t breathe’.
White police officer Derek Chauvin, attempting to arrest the unarmed Floyd, had knelt on his neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds, while Floyd gasped for air.
His words, caught on camera by horrified bystanders, catalysed the Black Lives Matter movement that swept the world that summer.
Black employees were given leaves of absence from work to ‘grieve’. School curricula were ‘decolonised’. Statues of supposed historical racists were defaced and, in the case of 18th-century merchant Sir Edward Colston, thrown into Bristol harbour.
Chauvin’s trial was watched by millions on TV. When he was found guilty of murder on April 20, 2021, and sentenced to more than 22 years in prison, there was widespread celebration.
Officers Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao were later convicted for their part in the killing and given prison sentences ranging from three years to four years nine months.
During the incident, Kueng had applied pressure to Floyd’s torso, Lane had restrained his legs and Thao had stood watching, telling onlookers: ‘This is why you don’t do drugs, kids.’
Now the dust has settled. As time has passed and emotions have calmed, some are beginning to question the circumstances surrounding Floyd’s death.
Controversial as it may seem to those who faithfully marched in solidarity with racial minorities in the wake of the tragedy, evidence is emerging that questions the prevailing account of what took place that terrible day.
A new documentary, The Fall Of Minneapolis, has re-examined the case and reached some startling conclusions. The myth of an innocent Floyd callously murdered by a racist cop is not only questioned — but shaken to its core.
Produced by journalist Liz Collin of Minnesota’s Alpha News, the film outlines a very different scenario: officers working in difficult, fast-moving conditions to apprehend a volatile, heavily intoxicated suspect, a viral video that prompts worldwide mass protests and a virtue-signalling liberal elite all too ready to rush to judgment.
As academic and New York Times contributor John McWhorter — who is black — commented: ‘We were lied to. The whole way we think about George Floyd is wrong . . . including the way I thought of him . . . I had no idea that Derek Chauvin didn’t kill him.’