Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor have become symbols of protest in the US - here's what happened to them

Tuesday, 2nd June 2020, 4:44 pm
Updated Tuesday, 2nd June 2020, 4:44 pm
Demonstrations were held over the death of Ahmaud Arbery at the start of May (Getty Images)

Footage of an unarmed black man dying while in police custody has sparked protests across the United States.

George Floyd, 46, was handcuffed by police officers with one officer kneeling on his neck for over eight minutes. Floyd could be heard pleading “I can’t breathe” before losing consciousness. He was later pronounced dead.

Placards and murals featuring the face of Floyd have become a symbol of demonstrations calling for an end to police brutality against black people.

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The names and faces of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, have also been omnipresent at protests, with many claiming that they were the victim of racial profiling and police brutality.

What happened to Breonna Taylor? 

Breonna Taylor, 26, was shot dead by police officers in the Kentucky city of Louisville, on March 13, 2020.

Police were carrying out a “no knock” search warrant on the apartment of Taylor and her partner Kenneth Walker.

Police claim that they announced their arrival, knocking several times on the apartment, while neighbours claim that no such warning was issued.

During a police interrogation Walker claims that Taylor shouted “Who is it?” on several occasions, but received no response. Fearing that their house was being broken into, Walker armed himself shooting a police officer in the leg. Police returned fire shooting Taylor eight times.

The search was carried out as part of an investigation into two drug dealers who lived far from the apartment. The police were understood to be investigating whether Taylor’s apartment was being used to receive drug packages.

Police claimed that a US postal inspector had confirmed that such packages were arriving, but postal inspector Tony Gooden has denied such claims.

No drugs were found at the apartment.

The four officers involved have been placed on administrative leave while the investigation is underway.

What happened to Ahmaud Arbery?

Ahmaud Arbery, 25, was shot dead while jogging by father and son Gregory and Travis McMichael in Brunswick, Georgia, on February 23, 2020.

Arbery was jogging through a residential area when the McMichael’s followed him, claiming that they suspected he was a burglar.

Gregory claimed that Arbery attacked his son before he was shot.

The pair were arrested in early May when footage was leaked showing Arbery running around the McMichaels’ parked vehicle. Arbery, once past the truck, is shot, before struggling with one of the men and being shot two more times.

Both men have since been arrested, while the man who filmed the incident, William Bryan Jr, was arrested on false imprisonment charges.

Many have questioned why it took 74 days to arrest the men involved in the incident, raisng concerns of racial profiling.