10:39 GMT14 April 2021
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    Floyd, an African-American, died in police custody on 25 May 2020. His death sparked massive protests against racial discrimination and police brutality in the United States and across the globe and reignited the long-standing issue of race relations in America.

    The singer Cher has come under a hail of online criticism after she posted a statement on Twitter about the ongoing trial of Derek Chauvin, a police officer involved in the death of George Floyd. The 74-year-old wrote that she would have helped Floyd if she had been present during his arrest.

    ​The singer’s tweet attracted a torrent of negative remarks with users accusing Cher of having a "white savior complex".

    ​Others felt that the singer was trying to get attention and urged her to delete the tweet.

    ​Many users contended that no one could have saved George Floyd that day…

    ​…while others lamented that the presence of white Americans is needed to make black people safe.

    ​However, there were netizens who praised Cher for her statement.

    ​But other users leapt to the singer's defence.

    ​Who is George Floyd?

    On 25 May 2020 police in Minneapolis received a call about a man (George Floyd), who allegedly paid for his groceries at a shop with a forged $20 bill. Four police officers arrived at the scene and detained Floyd. Footage recorded by bystanders showed that during the arrest he was pinned to the ground with one officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeling on his neck. Floyd repeatedly told Chauvin that he was unable to breathe. Despite pleas, the officer kept kneeling on his neck for almost nine minutes even when Floyd fell unconscious.

    The first autopsy showed that the possible presence of intoxicants in Floyd's blood and pre-existing heart problems contributed to his death. However, a private autopsy, conducted at the request of his family, found that George Floyd died from asphyxiation, which occurred because of the compression on his neck by the police officer.

    News of his death sparked the biggest protests since the death of African-American activist Martin Luther King Jr. Demonstrators demanded justice for Floyd and condemned police brutality. Floyd’s death also reignited the long-standing issues of racial inequality in the United States. It mirrors several other high-profile cases where unarmed African Americans were killed by police officers.

    Protests against racism were also held in different parts of the world, including Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.
    Officer Derek Chauvin was charged with second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. He denies the charges. If convicted he may be sentenced to up to 40 years in prison.

    His lawyers will try to prove that Chauvin was partially responsible and that Floyd died as the result of an overdose and heart problems. Floyd had already swallowed drugs during police encounters, which led to hypertensive emergency and hospitalisation. One such incident was captured on video in 2019. The autopsy showed the presence of fentanyl and methamphetamine in Floyd’s blood.

    Tags:
    police brutality, racism, Cher, George Floyd killing
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