Local authorities in Minneapolis announced Friday that former police officer Derek Chauvin has been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter for the killing of an African-American man, George Floyd, following days of protests and civil unrest.
In reporting that news, many mainstream media outlets bungled the headlines and seemingly erased the connection between Chauvin’s action and Floyd’s death.
To be clear, Chauvin has not been arrested for the act of kneeling on a man’s neck — he’s been arrested and charged with murder.
The AP stories have applied this kind of passive phrasing to Floyd’s killing — but not necessarily to the violence that has followed since.
Many other media outlets followed the AP’s lead in their tweets, describing only Chauvin’s act of kneeling on Floyd’s neck, and not the fact that Floyd had actually died as a result:
Others did include the fact that Floyd died, but phrased it to show only a slight connection to Chauvin’s action as the primary cause — that is, saying Chauvin had kneeled on Floyd’s neck, and then Floyd died, rather than writing that Chauvin allegedly killed Floyd.