On Monday evening, May 25, 2020, Memorial Day, police were called to a small shop in Minneapolis, Minnesota following a report of a man trying to pass a counterfeit twenty-dollar bill. Four officers took a black man matching the description of the suspect into custody, handcuffed him, then laid him down in the street, where one white officer held him prone with a knee on his neck for almost nine minutes, while he begged for air and called out to his deceased mother, and the other officers watched or assisted.
Passersby and EMTs pleaded with the officer to relax his stance, but he persisted, for almost three minutes after the man beneath him became unresponsive. Taken to Hennepin County Medical Center, EMTs worked to revive him for almost an hour before he was pronounced dead at 9:25 PM CDT. Protests began the night after the incident, escalating to violent confrontations with police and looting over the ensuing four nights, as demonstrations spread to urban centers across the country. All four officers were terminated from their employment with MPD the following day, and four days later the arresting officer was himself arrested and charged with third degree murder and manslaughter.