On May 25, Derek Chauvin, a Minneapolis police officer, held his knee to George Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes, even as Floyd, a black man, pleaded "I can't breathe." Chauvin continued to kneel on his neck even after Floyd lost consciousness, and Floyd died soon after. Floyd's death came on the heels of the shootings of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery - two other high-profile incidents in which black people were murdered - and follows a long history of police violence against black people.
Since Floyd's death, thousands of people have been protesting in all 50 states across the United States. Many initially peaceful protests have been marred by violence, vandalism and looting, and police have used tear gas, rubber bullets, and other means as they confront protestors. Governors of some states have activated the National Guard to aid police.