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A look back at 2020: George Floyd, the BLM movement, and racial inequality

Last Updated Dec 29, 2020 at 7:50 am MDT

Demonstrators sit in silence for nine minutes, Tuesday, June 2, 2020, in Philadelphia, during a protest over the death of George Floyd, who died May 25 after he was restrained by Minneapolis police. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

MINNEAPOLIS – The Black Lives Matter movement has been around for a while, drawing attention to social and racial injustices with a primary focus on the United States.

But the May death of George Floyd would be a major turning point for the movement, inspiring a worldwide reckoning over racial injustice.

Floyd was 46 when he was killed. A white Minneapolis officer pressed a knee on Floyd’s neck for several minutes on May 25 as the dying man cried out for his mother.

WATCH: George Floyd’s dying words echo around the world

Derek Chauvin, one of four former Minneapolis police officers fired for his involvement in Floyd’s death, would be charged with second-degree murder.

The three other officers are facing charges of aiding and abetting murder.

RELATED: Police, experts condemn knee restraint used on George Floyd

Massive protests were held for days, in some cases months, on end across the U.S. In Minneapolis, demonstrators torched a police station that officers abandoned.

Relations between protesters and police became increasingly strained and some rallies clashed between the two parties became violent.

WATCH: Pain, protests intensify over police killing of George Floyd

Elsewhere in Minneapolis, thousands of peaceful demonstrators marched through the streets calling for justice.

In New York City, protesters defied New York’s coronavirus prohibition on public gatherings, clashing with police, while demonstrators blocked traffic in downtown Denver and downtown Columbus. A day earlier, demonstrators had taken to the streets in Los Angeles and Memphis.

Protesters went to a Florida home believed to belong to Chauvin. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office tweeted that Chauvin was not at the residence and has no plans to be in the area.

In Louisville, Kentucky, police confirmed that at least seven people had been shot Thursday night as protesters demanded justice for Breonna Taylor, a black woman who was fatally shot by police in her home in March.

In Mississippi, the mayor of the community of Petal resisted calls to resign following his remarks about Floyd’s death. Hal Marx, a Republican, asked on Twitter: “Why in the world would anyone choose to become a police officer in our society today?” In a follow-up tweet, he said he “didn’t see anything unreasonable.”

RELATED: Voices of the protesters from around the world

Here in Canada, solidarity protests calling for change happened in most major cities, including Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, and Toronto.

It also forced the country to look at its own issues with racism.

WATCH: Anti-black racism alive in Canada too, says Trudeau in response to George Floyd protests

The reinvigorated movement birthed a secondary campaign to defund the police. Protesters in Canada and the U.S. pushed their local governments to reallocate sections of police departments’ budgets in favour of other community supports or programs.

With increased attention on racial injustices, several sports teams reevaluated their names that had racist roots this year, including the Cleveland baseball team, the Washington and Edmonton football teams, among others.

-with files from NEWS 1130, The Associated Press, and CityNews