In a press release commemorating the statue, organizers wrote that “Mr. Floyd’s death elevated the Black Lives Matter movement, which has resulted in an international response, including protests, police reform measures, and the removal of Confederate statues from public parks and racist names from organizations.”
Conservatives, including The Daily Wire’s Candace Owens, have suggested that, while it is terrible that Floyd died and police should be held accountable for their actions, turning him into a martyr is not the best idea.
“The fact that he has been held up as a martyr sickens me. George Floyd was not a good person, I don’t care who wants to spin that. I don’t care how CNN wants to make you think he changed his life around,” Owens said in an interview with Glenn Beck last year. “He was just after his sixth or fifth stint in prison.”
In a later post on Twitter, Owens wrote:
Guess my message to little kids would be for them not to idolize men that:
Get high on fentanyl
Get high on meth
Use counterfeit bills
Shove guns into the stomaches of pregnant women while robbing them
Go to prison 5 times
What a truly horrible message I carry.
On April 20, 2021, a jury found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter for the death of George Floyd.
“The judge explained that third-degree murder requires proof Mr. Chauvin caused Mr. Floyd’s death by committing an eminently dangerous act that was highly likely to cause death and showed a reckless disregard for human life. To convict Mr. Chauvin of second-degree manslaughter, the jurors would need to conclude that culpable negligence and reckless actions by Mr. Chauvin caused Mr. Floyd’s death,” The Wall Street Journal reported at the time.
As The Daily Wire’s Amanda Prestigiacomo reported:
On May 25, Chauvin and three other officers arrested and detained Floyd after he allegedly gave counterfeit money at a convenience store. Following a struggle to get Floyd into the back of a police cruiser, viral video shows that Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck and back for nearly nine minutes to detain Floyd while awaiting paramedics.
Chauvin’s attorney Eric Nelson argued during the trial that Floyd’s drug use and bad heart were crucial factors in his death, and that Chauvin used reasonable force through an authorized prone hold. The Hennepin County medical examiner revealed that Floyd’s autopsy showed the deceased had potentially lethal levels of drugs in his system.
Chauvin’s attorney plans to appeal the verdict.