Four members of the Minneapolis Police Department have been terminated over their participation in the arrest of George Floyd. Floyd died at the hospital after officers restrained him; one was caught on video pressing Floyd’s neck to the curb for several minutes with his knee as Floyd said he was struggling to breathe.
“This is the right call,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said in a terse statement about the termination via Twitter.
Four responding MPD officers involved in the death of George Floyd have been terminated.
This is the right call.
— Mayor Jacob Frey (@MayorFrey) May 26, 2020
Two of those now-former officers have been identified as Derek Chauvin and Tou Thao.
“When Mayor Frey appointed me as chief of the Minneapolis police department, I was very steadfast and strong on what our department vision, values and culture change would be moving forward. One of those pillars is sanctity of life,” Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said during a community address Tuesday afternoon. “We know there are inherent dangers in the profession of policing but the vast majority of the work we do never require the use of force.”
Video of Floyd being held to the street went viral early Tuesday.
In the clip, a white police officer presses his knee sharply into Floyd’s neck as he lays inert on the pavement. Various cries ring out to protest Floyd’s ongoing treatment and his impending death. Those cries are summarily ignored.
Floyd, who was being arrested for allegedly writing a bad check on Monday evening, can repeatedly be heard crying out in the videos filmed of the incident.
“I can’t breathe,” he begged the responding officers–none of whom ever registered their awareness or concern with his health.
Bystanders watching the disastrous event eventually tried pleading with the cops. To no avail.
“That’s some bum assed shit,” one apparent onlooker said.
“You’re trapping his breathing right there, bro,” the same person told police. “You can get him off the ground.”
“You could have put him in the car by now,” that voice continued. “He’s not even resisting arrest right now.”
Other voices joined in a similar chorus–calling out law enforcement for their treatment of a man accused of forgery and resisting arrest. They ridiculed the officers involved as racially fearful of “minorities” and requested badge numbers. None of those concerns were validated by the officers involved per the 10-minute-long clip widely circulating online and embedded at the top of this report.
The officer with his knee to Floyd’s neck constrained Floyd for at least seven minutes, according to the video.
Five minutes into the filmed incident, Floyd appears to lose consciousness.
Police claim the man later died in custody but there is no evidence supporting that assertion and witnesses on the scene have contested the official story line.
“The cops, their knees—they was pinning him down by his neck and he was crying and shit, saying he couldn’t breathe,” Darnella Frazier, who filmed the incident, said in a Facebook video. “They wasn’t trying to take him serious.”
“The police killed him, bro, right in front of everybody,” she said, noting that Floyd was “sitting there dead” a mere “five, six minutes” after announcing he couldn’t breathe.
The footage immediately prompted a national conversation.
“This man’s life matters,” Frey, the mayor, said earlier Tuesday while fighting back tears. “He matters. He was someone’s son; someone’s family member; someone’s friend. He was a human being and his life mattered.”
Floyd’s killing quickly prompted local, state, and federal investigations. But the mayor immediately noted his dissatisfaction with the police he oversees, saying the video he reviewed shows conduct that “was wrong at every level.”
“Being black in America should not be a death sentence,” Frey added. “For five minutes, we watched a white officer press his knee into a black man’s neck. Five minutes. When you hear someone calling for help, you’re supposed to help. This officer failed in the most basic, human sense. What happened on Chicago and 38th last night is awful. It was traumatic. It serves as a reminder of how far we have to go.”
[Image via screengrab/Darnella Frazier]
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