As demonstrations erupted across the nation and beyond to protest racism and police brutality, Beyoncé demanded justice for George Floyd in an impassioned video posted on Instagram and called on her legions of loyal fans to do the same.
On May 25, Floyd, 46, was arrested in Minneapolis, Minnesota after he was accused of buying cigarettes with counterfeit money. Just 17 minutes after police arrived, as The New York Times reported, Floyd was pinned beneath three officers and ultimately died in police custody. Distressing footage captured by bystanders and surrounding security cameras captured Floyd's last moments as he struggled and desperately cried out for help. "My stomach hurts. My neck hurts. Everything hurts. I need some water or something, please. Please," Floyd can be heard saying. "They're going to kill me, man... Don't kill me."
Derek Chauvin — the officer who knelt on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes as he repeatedly said "I can't breathe" — has since been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, according to The Washington Post. He and three other officers — Tou Thao, J Alexander Kueng, and Thomas K. Lane — were fired from their department. As more information came to light following Floyd's death — specifically that Chauvin previously worked with the victim at a nightclub may have personally known Floyd — Floyd's family's lawyer is pushing for first-degree murder charges.
Floyd's death in police custody shortly followed that of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man who was chased down and murdered by two white men — a former police officer and his son — while out on a run, unarmed, CNN reported. And earlier this year, Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old black woman, was murdered in her home by police while she slept.
Black Lives Matter protests have erupted across the United States and in other countries around the world, and celebrities have also lent their voices, including Beyoncé. "We need justice for George Floyd. We all witnessed his murder in broad daylight. We're broken and we're disgusted," Beyoncé says in a video shared over the weekend. "We cannot normalize this pain. I'm not only speaking to people of color. If you're white, black, brown and anything in between, I'm sure you feel hopeless by the racism going on in America right now."
She goes on to call for "no more senseless killings of human beings," and "no more seeing people of color as less than human." Calling Floyd "our family," she begs her followers to take action.
"There have been too many times that we've seen these violent killings and no consequences," she says. "Yes, someone's been charged, but justice is far from being achieved."
At the end of the video, Beyoncé asks her fans to visit her website, which currently includes links to several petitions calling for all four officers to be charged with murder in Floyd's death, including one on Change.org that already has over 9 million signatures. "Continue to pray for peace and compassion and healing for our country," she concluded the video.