BBC News’ mistake came late on Tuesday night as it reported on the funeral service for the 46-year-old Houston native that had taken place in his hometown, some hours earlier.
Viewers on the BBC News channel were shown an image of the former New York Jets American footballer George Floyd, instead of the man whose death has sparked demonstrations against racism and police brutality around the world.
A BBC spokesperson told The Independent that it had taken the still photo from a montage played during the Houston funeral service.
"One of the photos we used, which we had taken directly from this montage, depicted the New York Jets player George Floyd," said the BBC. "We don’t know why that particular image was used in the service, but we subsequently used it as part of our own coverage of the service."
The incorrect photo was shown for around 5 seconds, alongside other accurate photos of the Minneapolis man.
He was then described as “a champion basketball and football player, a gentle man despite his imposing height”, during the same news segment.
The BBC spokesperson added that it was now investigating what happened, and that "the BBC would never seek to cause any offence.”
Those comments have been echoed in interviews and statements given by Mr Floyd’s friends and relatives over the past two weeks.
More than 2,000 attended the funeral in Houston on Tuesday, alongside almost 6,000 mourners who visited Texas to pay tribute to the 46-year-old.
The BBC’s mistake comes as demonstrations against systemic racism and police violence continue worldwide.
Derek Chauvin, the ex-Minneapolis cop who pinned Mr Floyd to the ground for almost nine minutes until he could no longer breath, appeared in court for the first time on Tuesday.
Mr Chauvin was charged with second degree murder, manslaughter and third degree murder.
Three other officers were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for their involvement in the killing.