A viral 10-minute-long video of a white police officer pressing his knee into a black man’s neck on a sidewalk curb in Minneapolis has received more than 300,000 views on Facebook and is gaining national media attention. The man being restrained, identified by Attorney Benjamin Crump as George Floyd, later died in custody, and investigations by the state and by the Federal Bureau of Investigation are underway, the Associated Press reported.
Two of the officers involved, though not officially named by police, are believed to be Derek Chauvin and Tou Thao.
“He should not have died,” said Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey in a brief speech carried by KARE-TV. Frey called the incident “completely and utterly messed up.” Four cops involved were fired on Tuesday.
“I can’t breathe,” Floyd pleaded over and over in the video available at the top of this report.
While one officer, believed to be Chauvin, pinned Floyd’s neck, a second uniformed officer, believed to be Thao, hovered over the scene. A third officer appeared at the beginning of the video to be holding Floyd from a position near Floyd’s legs.
“You’ve got him down,” bystanders pleaded.
Several recorded the scene.
It is difficult from the angle of the video to determine exactly who said what and when because the officers’ faces were only infrequently on camera.
“Well, get up and get in the car, man,” one person said.
“I will . . . I can’t move,” Floyd said.
“You can’t win, man,” someone said.
A female bystander noted several times that Floyd had started to bleed from his nose.
“That’s some bum assed shit,” one voice said, apparently a bystander.
“You’re trapping his breathing right there, bro,” the same apparent bystander said to the police. “You can get him off the ground.”
“You could have put him in the car by now,” the same voice said. “He’s not even resisting arrest right now.”
The voices of apparent witnesses pleaded incessantly with the police to let Floyd off the curb. One asked for a badge number. No response was audible.
Floyd appeared to lose consciousness at about five minutes into the video.
“He’s not responsive right now!” voices said from off camera. Several asked the officers on the scene to check Floyd’s pulse. They didn’t.
The officer who was standing watch over the scene, believed to be Thao, ordered bystanders to get back.
The apparent bystanders again pleaded for the several officers to check Floyd’s pulse.
“He’s not fucking moving!” a voice exclaimed. Several voices accused the police of being “scared” of “minorities.”
“Get off of his neck!” the apparent bystanders again pleaded.
A gurney was taken off of an ambulance at about seven minutes into the footage.
Floyd was rolled onto a stretcher, placed onto a gurney, and loaded into the ambulance at about eight and a half minutes through the video.
Bystanders attempted to record the badge number of the officer who was standing watch over the scene (believed to be Thao). They also closely recorded the number of one of responding police cars. At one point, the officer believed to be Thao told the bystanders not to touch him.
The mayor struggled to control his emotions while speaking publicly after seeing either the above recording or another one like it.
“This man’s life matters,” Mayor Frey said, tearing up. “He matters. He was someone’s son; someone’s family member; someone’s friend. He was a human being and his life mattered.”
Frey said an investigation would occur, but said bluntly that what he “saw was wrong at every level.”
“Being black in America should not be a death sentence,” Frey said. “When you see someone calling for help, you are supposed to help. This officer failed in the most basic, human sense.”
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, said his department “clearly” has “policies in place regarding placing someone under control” and that there would be a “full investigation we’ll do internally,” the Associated Press reported.
Here’s how the Minneapolis Police Department explained what happened in a news release dated on Memorial Day, May 25:
On Monday evening, shortly after 8:00 pm, officers from the Minneapolis Police Department responded to the 3700 block of Chicago Avenue South on a report of a forgery in progress. Officers were advised that the suspect was sitting on top of a blue car and appeared to be under the influence.
Two officers arrived and located the suspect, a male believed to be in his 40s, in his car. He was ordered to step from his car. After he got out, he physically resisted officers. Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress. Officers called for an ambulance. He was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center by ambulance where he died a short time later.
At no time were weapons of any type used by anyone involved in this incident.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has been called in to investigate this incident at the request of the Minneapolis Police Department.
No officers were injured in the incident.
Body worn cameras were on and activated during this incident.
The Associated Press noted that the officers involved have been placed on “paid administrative leave, per department protocol.”
Minneapolis activist Nekima Levy-Armstrong told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that the video of the incident made her “sick to her stomach” and said the incident was evidence of police brutality against the black community.
“What started as an alleged economic incident once again turned deadly for a black man,” she said, while noting the video was shockingly similar to the case involving Eric Garner, the New York man who died after police put him in a chokehold and who similarly told officers he couldn’t breathe.
Editor’s note: this report has been updated with additional details.
[Featured image via Facebook screen capture.]
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