These black men’s experiences were caught on camera, spurring anger and action
One died after he was pinned down by a police officer. One was fatally shot while jogging. The third avoided any physical confrontation.
The experiences of three black men were captured on video and released over the past few weeks, and while each incident ends differently, they all provided a glimpse of the dangers that black men face in America.
The videos of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Christian Cooper have led to a renewed round of anger, frustration, sadness and protests. These are their stories:
George Floyd, 46, died Monday after pleading for help as a police officer pinned him to the ground with his knee on Floyd’s neck.
The four officers involved in Floyd’s death were fired from the department Tuesday, Minneapolis police said.
On Friday, Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman charged Derek Chauvin, the officer whose knee was on Floyd’s neck, with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Floyd worked security at a restaurant for five years, where he developed a reputation as someone who had your back and was there for you when you were down.
“He was loved by all my employees and my customers,” the restaurant’s owner, Jovanni Thunstrom, told CNN.
Floyd would help clean up after the bar had closed and was a “very nice guy and really good with customers,” according to Thunstrom.
His brother Philonise Floyd told CNN, “Knowing my brother is to love my brother.”
“He’s a gentle giant, he don’t hurt anybody,” he said.
Ahmaud Arbery, 25, was jogging in a Brunswick, Georgia, neighborhood on February 23 when a man and his son chased him down and shot him, telling police later that they thought he looked like the suspect in a series of recent break-ins in the area.
For more than two months, the men avoided arrest. Two district attorneys recused themselves over possible conflicts of interest, one of whom wrote that the shooter acted out of self-defense and their actions fell within Georgia’s citizen arrest laws.
However, a 36-second video showing Arbery’s final moments was released earlier this month, spurring calls for the arrests of the men in the video.
Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis McMichael, 34, were arrested May 7 and face charges of murder and aggravated assault in the killing. William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., 50, the man who recorded the fatal shooting, has been arrested on charges including felony murder, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said.
A former high school football player, Arbery often jogged for miles near the southeastern Georgia area where he grew up.
“He was a bright light in a world of darkness,” Arbery’s best friend, Akeem Baker, said.
His family has called the shooting a modern-day lynching.
“I just want people to know that he was a very good young man and he loved the people and I just want people to remember him as a good-hearted young man,” said his father, Marcus Arbery Sr.. “To see him just get lynched like that by a racial mob is devastating to our family.”
Christian Cooper, an avid birdwatcher, filmed video of a white woman in Central Park who called police during an encounter involving her unleashed dog, which violated the area’s rules. The video shows the woman say she is going to call the police and “tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life.”
The video ends after she calls police and leashes her dog, and the New York Police Department said neither was present when they responded to the scene. Still, the incident was another example of white people calling the police on African Americans over what might otherwise be a mundane dispute.
The woman, who was later fired from her job, told CNN she wanted to “publicly apologize to everyone” and said she was not a racist.
“I think her apology is sincere,” Cooper told CNN’s Don Lemon on Tuesday. “I’m not sure that in that apology she recognizes that while she may not be or consider herself a racist, that particular act was definitely racist.”
“And the fact that that was her recourse at that moment — granted, it was a stressful situation, a sudden situation — you know, maybe a moment of spectacularly poor judgment. But she went there and had this racist act that she did.”