All protest movements have slogans. George Floyd’s has a number: 8:46.
Eight minutes, 46 seconds – that’s the length of time prosecutors say Floyd was pinned to the ground under a white Minneapolis police officer’s knee before he died last week.
In the days since, outraged protesters, politicians and mourners have seized on the detail as a quiet way to honour Floyd. Even as prosecutors have said little about how they arrived at the precise number, it has fast grown into a potent symbol of the suffering Floyd – and many other Black men – have experienced at the hands of police.
Demonstrators this week laid down on streets staging “die-ins” for precisely eight minutes, 46 seconds.
In Washington, Democratic senators gathered in the US Capitol’s Emancipation Hall, some standing, some kneeling on the marbled floor for the nearly nine minutes of silence.
Mourners at a memorial service for Floyd in Minneapolis stood in silence for eight minutes and 46 seconds, asked by the Reverend Al Sharpton to “think about what George was going through, laying there for those eight minutes, begging for his life.