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Check Out The Details of George Floyd’s Criminal Records Part One


The question of past arrests often surfaces among people who want to rationalize police officers' actions when Black men are killed in custody.

Snopes also has in-depth reporting on the background of Derek Chauvin, one of four former police officers charged in the case surrounding George Floyd’s death. Read that report here.

As cities worldwide erupted in protests over the death of George Floyd — a Black man who died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes in Minneapolis — the leader of that city’s police federation sent the below-displayed email to union members. In it, he criticized journalists’ and politicians’ portrayal of the man whose death had sparked a global reckoning over racism in policing.

“What is not being told is the violent criminal history of George Floyd,” said Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) Lt. Bob Kroll, who represents more than 800 police officers. “The media will not air this.”


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The June 1, 2020, letter by Kroll, whom Snopes could not reach for this report, inspired a wave of claims online about Floyd’s alleged arrests and incarcerations before his death — mostly among people who seemed to be searching for evidence that either the actions by the Minneapolis police officer who choked Floyd were justified, or memorials to honor him were unnecessary.

Among the most popular claims were those by the right-wing commentator Candace Owens, who, in a roughly 18-minute video that’s been viewed more than 6 million times, made several accusations about Floyd’s past and the events that led to his death. She said:

No one thinks that he should have died in his arrest, but what I find despicable to be is that everyone is pretending that this man lived a heroic lifestyle when he didn’t. …I refuse to accept the narrative that this person is a martyr or should be lifted up in the black community. …He has a rap sheet that is long, that is dangerous. He is an example of a violent criminal his entire life — up until the very last moment.”

She claimed reporters had wrongly interpreted Floyd’s death to the public by purposefully omitting details about his past unlawful behavior, and she falsely and inappropriately called police brutality a “myth” and part of some nefarious scheme by news media to polarize Americans before the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

That video, as well as misleading photographs, memes like the one displayed below, and sensationalized tabloid stories about Floyd’s past, prompted numerous inquiries to Snopes from people wondering if he had indeed served time in jail or prison before his death at age 46.

The claims in this meme are a mixture of true and false, as we’ll document below. In brief, the alleged crimes and time periods are mostly accurate, with the caveat that Floyd was convicted of theft in 1998, not armed robbery.


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But the following information makes other aspects of the post misleading: Not all the crimes resulted in prison time, but rather jail sentences; no evidence suggests a woman involved in the 2007 charge was pregnant; it’s an exaggeration of toxicology results to claim Floyd “was high on meth” when he was choked by a cop, and there’s no proof that Floyd was “getting ready to drive a car” before his fatal encounter with police other than the fact that officers say they approached him as he sat in the driver’s seat of a vehicle.

What follows is everything we know about crimes committed by Floyd — who was born in North Carolina, lived most of his life in Houston and moved to Minneapolis in 2014 — based on court records and police accounts to fulfill those requests. Additionally, this report explores the following:

Did Floyd’s past arrests and incarcerations have any effect on police officers’ actions during the 911 call that led to his death?

Was he “high on meth” when he was choked by the Minneapolis cop and died, like the above-displayed meme claims?

How will Floyd’s criminal record and autopsy toxicology results play a role in the murder trials for the police officers charged in his death?  Continue Reading
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