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2020 News of the Year: Tension

2020 News of the Year: Tension

Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin holds his knee to the neck of George Floyd on May 25. (Image from YouTube)

The coronavirus pandemic dominated 2020’s news cycle heading into Memorial Day weekend. But that changed on May 25 when 46-year-old George Floyd died after a Minneapolis police officer pinned him to the ground during an arrest. Derek Chauvin’s knee stayed on the neck of a handcuffed Floyd for almost nine ­minutes. Chauvin was fired and faces a murder charge. Floyd’s death—and the bystander video of the incident—sparked months of nationwide, sometimes-violent protests focusing on racial discrimination and police brutality. The deaths of other black Americans during confrontations with police fueled more demonstrations. As the summer sweltered, protesters marched and some neighborhoods burned as Americans again confronted each other over matters of racism and justice.

Mark Vancleave/Star Tribune via AP

(Mark Vancleave/Star Tribune via AP)


A woman yells at a sheriff’s deputy in Minneapolis during a protest on May 28 following George Floyd’s death. Protests began on May 26, the day after Floyd died.

John Minchillo/AP

(John Minchillo/AP)


Months after the George Floyd protests began, ­rioters had damaged or destroyed at least 1,500 business and government buildings in the Minneapolis and St. Paul areas, such as this Arby’s restaurant that rioters set fire to on May 29.

Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

(Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images)

BLM gains attention

Protesters hold signs outside a Minneapolis police station on June 13. The organization Black Lives Matter took the lead in organizing more demonstrations across the country. On June 6, the protest movement peaked with more than 500,000 attending demonstrations in nearly 550 locations across the United States.

Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

(Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images)

Tensions escalate

Minnesota State Patrol officers take a break during demonstrations on May 29 in Minneapolis. On June 2, one retired St. Louis police officer, David Dorn, 77, died while ­trying to protect a pawn shop from looters following protests. 

Frank Franklin II/AP

(Frank Franklin II/AP)

Demonstrations spread

Protesters kneel on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn as New York Police Department officers watch on June 4. After George Floyd’s death, demonstrations spread across the United States for much of the early summer.

Noah Berger/AP

(Noah Berger/AP)

Portland ablaze

Portland, Ore., Mayor Ted Wheeler speaks to Black Lives Matter protesters on July 22. Protests, riots, and violence continued for months in Portland, but Wheeler and other city leaders shunned federal officers’ presence there. Despite criticism from the left and the right, Wheeler won reelection in November. Protests, many turning violent, continued.

Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images

(Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images)

Protests turn to riots

Rioters smash a police car in Los Angeles during a demonstration on May 30. The Los Angeles City Council in June voted to cut the city police department’s budget by $150 million, but Black Lives Matter-LA proposed cutting the $1.8 billion budget by 90 percent.

Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP

(Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

Rayshard Brooks shot

Tomika Miller weeps over the body of her husband, Rayshard Brooks, during his funeral on June 22 in Atlanta. Police officers there shot Brooks after he took one of their stun guns during his arrest and tried to flee. His death sparked protests and riots, and demonstrators burned down the Wendy’s restaurant where Brooks died. 

Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

(Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images)

Statues come down

Demonstrators toppled the statue of Confederate Gen. Albert Pike on June 19 in Washington, D.C. Rioters tore down statues across the country, including some of outspoken abolitionists. Local governments also removed many Confederate statues erected decades after the Civil War.

John Minchillo/AP

(John Minchillo/AP)

Breonna Taylor

On Sept. 23, Louisville police arrest a man protesting a grand jury’s decision not to charge Louisville cops with murder after one officer killed Breonna Taylor during a botched drug raid at her home. The raid netted no drugs. Taylor died in March, and several months of investigations—and protests—­followed.

Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

(Charles Rex Arbogast/AP)


Yogi Dalal hugs his daughter Jigisha as his other daughter, Kajal, bows her head inside the family’s food and liquor store in Chicago on Aug. 10. Police arrested more than 100 people that night for vandalizing and looting stores during protests that turned violent. Several police officers were injured in the nighttime melee. 

Ted S. Warren/AP

(Ted S. Warren/AP)


Protesters and anarchists took over six blocks in Seattle from June 8 until July 1 and renamed the area the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP) zone. Demonstrators there demanded the defunding of police and other reforms. Four shootings in the zone between June 21 and June 29 left two people dead and four wounded.

Craig Ruttle/AP

(Craig Ruttle/AP)

Scenes of hope

New York City Police Chief Terence Monahan hugs an activist during a protest on June 1. 

Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

(Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Facing the future

Two months after George Floyd’s death, Alonzo Johnson III, 7, stands with mother Alicia D. Smith and brother Walter Johnson III, 11, in front of a Floyd mural near where police pinned him down. Other Floyd murals have appeared across the United States since Floyd died.

The Editors

The Editors


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  • Cyborg3's picture
    Posted: Sun, 12/20/2020 01:34 am

    I would have to say the George Floyd death description was fake news. He had so much barbiturates in his system that he was essentially a dead man. The police officer was essentially following protocol by holding him down, though the optics of it was useful for the PC race baiters who used it to fan the flames of outrage. Unfortunately, World Magazine followed suit without investigating this story critically, they effectively made the guy into a saint- the Catholic Church kind.   

  • Laura W
    Posted: Mon, 12/21/2020 01:37 pm

    I know World chooses their sources carefully--what sources are you using to reach that conclusion?

  • Cyborg3's picture
    Posted: Fri, 12/25/2020 04:26 pm

    The much smaller officer, Derek Chauvin at 5' 9" and 154 lbs, used a choke hold technique against the much larger George Floyd at 6' 4" and 223 lbs which did not violate regulations, though most felt the force was excessive with the 20/20 hindsight after his death. George would have unlikely died if it was not for a lethal amount of fentanyl in his system prior to his arrest. He had 11 ng/ml in his system where people have died with only 3 ng/ml.  The effects of fentanyl are the following:

    Signs associated with fentanyl toxicity include severe respiratory depression, seizures, hypotension, coma and death. In fatalities from fentanyl, blood concentrations are variable and have been reported as low as 3 ng/mL.