8:46: A number becomes a potent symbol of police brutality

Full Screen
1 / 11

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

Demonstrators lie face down depicting George Floyd during his detention by police during a protest against police brutality on Boston Common, on Wednesday, June 3, 2020. Floyd, an African American, died on May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee into his neck for several minutes even after he stopped moving and pleading for air. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

MINNEAPOLIS

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — All protest movements have slogans. George Floyd's has a number: 8:46

Eight minutes, 46 seconds is the length of time prosecutors say Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, 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 honor Floyd at a time of angry and sometimes violent clashes with police. 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.

In Boston and Tacoma, Washington, demonstrators this week lay down on streets staging “die-ins" for precisely 8 minutes, 46 seconds. Companies, including ViacomCBS and Google, used the time span in their shows of solidarity.