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Riot investigating executive after social post critical of George Floyd

Courtesy of Riot

Riot Games have launched an investigation into one of its executives, Ron Johnson, after he shared a social media post downplaying the death of George Floyd, the company confirmed to ESPN.

Johnson, who is the global head of consumer products at Riot Games, has been put on leave, Riot said. Riot did not specify whether Johnson's leave from the company was paid or unpaid.

Earlier this week Johnson shared a post that included an image of Floyd and said, "the media and the left have made George Floyd into a martyr. But who was he really?" captioned across the top of the picture. The post then went on to outline Floyd's criminal record and alleged that he used methamphetamine and was a danger to others prior to his death.

With the image, Johnson wrote, "This is no reason to condone his killing by the officer at all, which still needs to be investigated as a potential crime. It is a learning opportunity for people (and your kids) to teach that this type of criminal lifestyle never results in good things happening to you or those around you."

"We're aware of an offensive social media post made by a Riot employee and have launched an investigation," Riot director of public relations Joe Hixson told ESPN. "We'll say firmly that the sentiment in that image is abhorrent, against our values, and directly counter to our belief that addressing systemic racism requires immediate societal change, which we detailed in the commitments we made Friday. While we don't discuss the details of our investigations, we're following our disciplinary process closely and have placed him on leave pending its conclusion."

On May 25 a video surfaced online of Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, being arrested in Minneapolis, in which white police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on Floyd's neck for more than eight minutes. Throughout the video Floyd laid handcuffed, pleaded for his life and yelled, "I can't breathe." He became unresponsive and was pronounced dead a short time later.

Chauvin and three other officers who were at the scene were fired by the Minneapolis Police Department on May 26. A third-degree murder charge against Chauvin was later upgraded to second-degree murder by Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison on June 3. The other officers -- Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao -- were later charged with aiding and abetting for both second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Floyd's death has sparked a conversation around racial injustice, with protests held in more than 750 American cities.