'Justice For George Floyd' becomes fastest-growing petition gaining over 4.4 million signatures in two days
In just two days, more than four million people have signed an online petition demanding justice for George Floyd — making it the fastest-growing petition on Change.org ever. Titled Justice for George Floyd, the petition has been signed by more than 4.4 million as of early Friday, May 29, morning two days after it was launched. The petition is aimed at bringing the police officers involved in Floyd's death to justice and calls for them to be arrested and charged.
Floyd died in police custody after being pinned to the ground by a police officer by a knee on his neck for several minutes on Monday, May 25, sparking nationwide outrage and mass protests. "The George Floyd petition is the fastest-growing petition on our site to date. It is amazing to see the petition gain over two million followers in just under 48 hours," a spokesperson for Change.org said in a statement to Newsweek. "In addition, there have been over 400 petitions started to advocate for George Floyd which is also an incredible milestone. This is truly a historic moment in our country and on our site," she added.
The petition has gained a new signature every two seconds as it calls for swift action from Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and District Attorney Mike Freeman. According to Change.org, it has the potential of becoming their most signed petition of the year. "This has gone farther than I have ever imagined! I hope that this helps bring justice for George Floyd and his family that they deserve," Kellen Sims, who started the petition, said in a statement to the outlet.
The death of Floyd, a father-of-two who was reportedly arrested over a counterfeit $20 bill, saw protests breaking out throughout the country with those in Minneapolis turning violent. Facing pressure to take action in the case, prosecutors appeared before the media on Thursday, May 28, in the wake of the continued riots in Minneapolis but said there is "evidence that does not support criminal charge" in the case that sees four cops getting accused of murdering Floyd.
They said the police can use a "certain amount of force — but not excessive". Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman condemned the action of Derek Chauvin, the police officer who has now been fired, as “horrific and terrible” but also added that it was still to be ascertained whether he used "excessive force when he knelt on Floyd’s neck for several minutes till he passed out and subsequently died.
"That video is graphic and horrific and terrible and no person should do that," Freeman said, adding, "But my job, in the end, is to prove he violated a criminal statute — but there is other evidence that does not support a criminal charge. We need to wade through all of that evidence and come to a meaningful decision and we are doing that to the best of our ability."
However, after about an hour and a half, Freeman’s office released a statement and told CNN that the attorney misspoke about the "other evidence". "Evidence not favorable to our case needs to be carefully examined to understand the full picture of what actually happened,” the statement read. "This happens in every case." During the press conference, federal prosecutor Erica MacDonald told the media that she hoped to brief on a new development in the case but it could not be done at this point. Both the legal representatives saw the investigation required more time and appealed to people to remain calm and patient until the probe results came out.
"I am pleading with individuals to remain calm and let us conduct this investigation," she said, adding, "Our highest priority is that justice will be served." Freeman echoed her thoughts and said the matter needed to be put straight. MacDonald also supported Freeman's words saying a "police officer in the nature of the job has within their scope of duty the ability to use the right amount of force but not excessive force".
"That's what we're looking at — the issue of excessive force," she added. The Minneapolis Police Department fired all four officers who were involved in Floyd's deadly arrest. The matter is currently being probed by federal, state and local authorities.