George Perry Floyd Jr. (October 14, 1973 – May 25, 2020) was an African-American man who was killed by police during an arrest in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020. Protests in response to both George Perry Floyd’s death and more broadly to police violence against other black people quickly spread across the United States and internationally.
George Perry Floyd grew up in Houston, Texas. He excelled in football and played other sports throughout high school and college. At 6 ft 4 in his friends and family called him Perry, and characterized him as a “gentle giant”. A blue-collar worker, George Perry Floyd was also an early contributor to the development of Houston’s hip-hop scene. He was also a mentor and active in his religious community. Later he faced several arrests for theft and drug possession, in 2009 he made a plea deal for an armed robbery serving four years in prison.
In 2014, he moved to the Minneapolis, Minnesota area to find work both as a truck driver and a bouncer. In 2020, he lost his security job because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He died after being arrested for allegedly using counterfeit money to buy cigarettes; during the arrest, Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, knelt on his neck and back for eight minutes and 46 seconds, leading to his death. Events of his arrest, death, and the actions of the officers have led to international Black Lives Matter protests, calls for police reform, and legislation to address perceived racial inequalities.