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Four Minneapolis police officers were fired Monday after a fatal encounter the same day with George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who seen on video struggling as an officer held him down with a knee to his neck.
Two of Floyd’s cousins spoke with the media and said the officers “murdered” him, and while they said terminating the officers involved is a “start,” they stressed that it’s “not enough.”
(*Caution: Disturbing Content)
Police say they were responding to a call about a man trying to use forged documents at a store, and officers found Floyd in a vehicle at the scene when they arrived. Floyd, who appeared intoxicated, according to police, was ordered to get out of the car.
“After he got out, he physically resisted officers,” Minneapolis police spokesperson John Elder told reporters, according to CBS affiliate WCCO. “Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and officers noticed that the man was going into medical distress.”
An ambulance was reportedly called, but a video that has gone viral shows a white police officer with his knee on Floyd’s neck for an extended period of time. The suspect is handcuffed and on his stomach and is not resisting. Floyd is also heard complaining, as bystanders call on the officer, identified as Derek Chauvin, to get off his neck.
(*Caution: Disturbing Content)
"I CAN'T BREATHE": Video shows George Floyd, a black man that police say was a possible "forgery" suspect, pleading with Minneapolis cops for air as they press a knee into his neck. Floyd loses consciousness and later dies.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 26, 2020
“Please, please, please, I can’t breathe. Please, man,” Floyd said, but Chauvin ignores his pleas.
The officer tells Floyd to “get up and get in the car then,” but continues to hold him down with his knee — according to the MPD, that is not an approved technique.
“My stomach hurts, my neck hurts, everything hurts,” Floyd says at one point, before asking for water.
He eventually loses consciousness, and later died at the hospital, WCCO reported. It’s not clear why the cop continued to hold Floyd down, even after he appeared to blackout.
A man recording the encounter tells Officer Chauvin, “He’s not even resisting arrest right now, bro… You’re f—ing stopping his breathing right now, you think that’s cool?”
The cause of death is not known at this point, and it’s not clear if the officer’s knee on Floyd’s neck attributed to his death.
Cousins Shareeduh Tate and Tera Brown were devastated to learn that the man in the video they saw was Floyd.
“I actually saw it before knowing it was my cousin – I saw it on Gayle King,” Tate said. “And I remember thinking how devastating this would be for the family who have lost their family member like this… then about five minutes after that I got a phone call saying that it was my cousin.”
She also expressed gratitude to those who tried to intervene.
“I can’t thank them enough,” Tate said. “We always see these kinds of things take place and we always wonder what we would do in that position and we’re so grateful… and even more so grateful for the person who was there with a camera to capture it as so many times there is not a witness around and it’s questionable as to what has happened.”
Brown was struck by her cousin’s suffering, and said the footage was “unbelievable.”
“It’s unbelievable to see someone suffering in the way that he did,” she said. “And to have so many people around asking for them to basically allow him to live.”
Ben Crump, who represented Michael Brown’s family in Ferguson, Mo., is the lawyer for the victim’s family and he is calling on Chauvin to be charged with murder — the attorney also represents the family of Ahmaud Arbery, the Georgia man killed by two white men who suspected him of burglary.
Crump said Floyd’s death is “worse than Eric Garner,” the New York man who died while resisting police in New York.
“I mean it was 8 minutes. It is in many ways worse than Eric Garner as they have his knees on his neck and he is begging, pleading for not one minute, not two minutes, not three minutes but eight minutes – begging them to let him breathe so we have ‘we can’t breathe’ again in 2020,” he said.
“It just takes you back to Eric Garner and now we have another black man saying to police ‘I can’t breathe’ and them not offering any humanity,” Crump added.
Crump was also quick to make race a contributing factor, declaring, “It’s like open season on black people in America.”
“It’s like open season on Black people in America.” Where is the humanity? We all deserve answers – especially George’s family. I am heartbroken that they have to go through this, but I am determined to get #JusticeForFloyd. #SayHisName #GeorgeFloyd https://t.co/6qInKLxNx5 @TMZ pic.twitter.com/w5LxG7geGW
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) May 27, 2020
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey did not mince words when commenting on the death at a press briefing Tuesday morning, also making race a factor.
“Being black in America should not be a death sentence,” he said, according to WCCO. “What we saw is horrible, completely and utterly messed up.”
Thread: Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey calls the incident with a 40-something year old black man who died while under arrest “wrong on every level.” A FB video shows an MPD officer pinning the man down as he says he can’t breathe. “This does not reflect the values of MPD.” #wcco pic.twitter.com/f9T6mvMkPI
— Christiane Cordero (@ChristianeWCCO) May 26, 2020
The Star Tribune reported that the FBI and the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension are investigating the incident, and the Minneapolis Police Department is likely to conduct its own review, according to the newspaper.
A huge protest broke out in the city over Floyd’s death.
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) May 27, 2020
— Ryan Faircloth (@RyanFaircloth) May 26, 2020
Protesters in Minneapolis chant "No Justice. No Peace" after the killing of #GeorgeFloyd by local police. The four officers involved have been fired but not yet indicted in the murder. pic.twitter.com/nRw511PYS2
— 10% for the Big Guy (@Phrygian0) May 27, 2020
And the demonstration quickly turned violent, as police were attacked with rocks and other projectiles.
Here are the latest photos from @CarlosGphoto coming in from the protest march over George Floyd's death, which turned into a clash between Minneapolis police and protesters. #georgefloyd https://t.co/pmcMibimEj pic.twitter.com/YMLKQS0Jhk
— Star Tribune (@StarTribune) May 27, 2020
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