This is SO unbelievable and SO utterly messed up; This video shows a Minneapolis officer kneeling on a black man’s neck for several minutes. The man identified as George Floyd later died.
A bystander’s video captures George Floyd telling the officers “I cannot breathe” as he is pinned to the ground by one of the officer’s foot on his neck, and as an increasingly distraught crowd of onlookers pleads with the officer to move his knee.
WARNING: Disturbing video. Viewer discretion advised (keep scrolling to view the video)
The officers involved in the incident have not been identified, but Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey (D) announced Tuesday afternoon that they had been terminated.
“It is the right decision for our city, the right decision for our community. It is the right decision for the Minneapolis Police Department,” Frey said at a news conference with Police Chief Medaria Arradondo. “We’ve stated our values, and ultimately we need to live by them.”
There is an ongoing FBI investigation into the actions of the four officers involved in the incident.
Overnight, video of the arrest circulated on social media. Posted by Darnella Frazier on Facebook, the nine-minute video shows a white officer pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck behind a squad car. While lying facedown on the road, Floyd repeatedly groans and says he can’t breathe.
Watch the video: If you’re unable to watch the video below follow this link.
CBS News acquired the video of Floyd’s initial arrest, which seems to contradict the claim that he resisted arrested, at least in the early stages of their encounter.
MORE: Video obtained by CBS News shows what appears to be the start of the confrontation between George Floyd & Minneapolis police officers. A restaurant’s security footage shows cops taking him into custody, but the restaurant owner says it does not show Floyd resisting arrest. pic.twitter.com/KR8r7B1WPl
— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) May 26, 2020
Leaders in Minnesota are calling for the officers involved to be held accountable. They’re also calling for the Department of Justice to investigate immediately.
Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan also reacted to the incident, calling the video “disturbing” and demanding justice.
“The lack of humanity in this disturbing video is sickening. We will get answers and seek justice,” Walz said.
At a Tuesday morning press conference, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey spoke bluntly about the graphic video, which has circulated widely online.
“Being black in America should not be a death sentence,” Frey said. “What we saw is horrible, completely and utterly messed up.”
At the Tuesday morning press conference alongside the mayor, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo did not address the video specifically, but did say that he received information from the community that prompted him to reach out to the FBI. The investigation is now being led by federal authorities with help from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
Officials from the FBI’s Minneapolis division released a statement Tuesday afternoon, saying in part the “investigation will focus on whether the Minneapolis Police Department officers involved willfully deprived the individual of a right or privilege protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States.”
The officers involved in Floyd’s death are on “relieved of duty status,” the police chief said. This is different from the typical administrative leave, but is still paid with no law enforcement duties. The names of the officers involved have yet to be released.
Protesters began gathering at the scene of Floyd’s encounter with police Tuesday afternoon, with hundreds joining in before the crowd began to march towards Minneapolis Police’s 3rd Precinct.
Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, in a statement, identified the man as Floyd and said he was representing his family. The mayor also identified him on Twitter.
“We all watched the horrific death of George Floyd on video as witnesses begged the police officer to take him into the police car and get off his neck,” Crump said. “This abusive, excessive and inhumane use of force cost the life of a man who was being detained by the police for questioning about a non-violent charge.”