By: Norman Dotson Jr./Digital Media Producer
“I can’t breath. Please man,” can be heard in a video that surfaced of Minneapolis officers kneeling on black man neck during an arrest which ultimately ended in his death.
The man was George Floyd and can be heard begging for his life for several minutes as the officer knelt down on the man’s neck during the arrest and kept his knee there for some time after Floyd stopped moving. In the graphic video one of the officers tells the man to “relax.” Time passes and the man becomes motionless under the officer’s restraint and the officer leaves his knee still for several minutes more.
This incident has drawn comparison to the case of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man who died in 2014 in New York after he was placed in a chokehold by police and pleaded for his life and this case is currently under investigation by the FBI and state law enforcement authorities.
Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump called for an immediate termination of the officers on the scene.
“George Floyd was MURDERED by MPD Officer Derek Chauvin (Badge #1087), while officer Tou Thao (Badge #7162) stood by & did NOTHING,” Crump said in a tweet earlier today.
George Floyd was MURDERED by MPD Officer Derek Chauvin (Badge #1087), while officer Tou Thao (Badge #7162) stood by & did NOTHING. Call Mayor @Jacob_Frey (612-673-2100) & demand IMMEDIATE TERMINATION of both officers. This video is all we need to see. No investigation necessary! pic.twitter.com/RW8Uh3mnZ8
— Benjamin Crump, Esq. (@AttorneyCrump) May 26, 2020
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey immediately took to social media apologizing to the black community Tuesday in a post on his Facebook page.
“Being Black in America should not be a death sentence. 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,” Frey posted.
Frey also tweeted out that four officers involved in the death of Floyd have been terminated.
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
According to report in the Associated Press, experts on police use of force say that he was clearly restrained for far too long and noted that Floyd was under control without fighting.
Andrew Scott, a former Boca Raton, Florida, police chief who now testifies as an expert witness in use-of-force cases, called Floyd’s death “a combination of not being trained properly or disregarding their training.”
“He couldn’t move. He was telling them he couldn’t breathe, and they ignored him,” Scott said. “I can’t even describe it. It was difficult to watch.”
In Minneapolis, kneeling on a suspect’s neck is allowed under the department’s use-of-force policy for officers who have received training in how to compress a neck without applying direct pressure to the airway. It is considered a “non-deadly force option,” according to the department’s policy handbook.
A chokehold is considered a deadly force option and involves someone obstructing the airway. According to the department’s use-of-force policy, officers are to use only an amount of force necessary that would be objectively reasonable.
All body camera footage in the Minneapolis case was turned over to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, and the agency asked to speak with anyone who saw the arrest or recorded video.
BNC has requested the video and documentation of the incident but was informed by the Minneapolis Police Department that our request could not be completed at this time.
“Some of your request is for data that is currently not public information. Dash camera and body camera footage is withheld under MN statute 13.82. It’s possible that this data will become public after the investigation of this incident is complete. At which time, you may submit another request for this data and it will be processed according to the data’s status at that time.”
This is an ongoing investigation, updates will come as more information is made available.