The term 'Black Lives Matter' originated from the murder of a teen, Trayvon Martin, in 2012. When policeman George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin's killer, was acquitted from charges in 2013. This led three Black women, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi, to organize a movement titled #BlackLivesMatter. The movement grew from other fatal police attacks like Eric Garner and Michael Brown.
In May of 2020, George Floyd was unarmed and knelt on for over 9 minutes by a police officer, Derek Chauvin. He died from cardiopulmonary arrest from neck compression and restraint.
Police have a long history of using excessive force, especially on Black men. In the United States, police officers are permitted to use lethal force if deemed necessary. Social justice activists push for the updating of these legal and policy frameworks to meet internationally recognized human rights standards. Many fatal police confrontations are the result of petty offense stoppings. Misdemeanors account for over 80% of arrests, so minimizing these unnecessary interactions between police and people will result in fewer fatalities and violence. The Black Lives Matter movement pushes for these changes.