The Minneapolis cop had his knee and full body weight on the man’s neck as the unarmed man pleaded for his life.
“I cannot breathe! I cannot breathe!” the man cries as witnesses gather, including one who is recording. “Don’t kill me!”
The cop who has been identified as Derek Chauvin did not let up, even as witnesses begged him to take his knee off the man’s neck. Another cop stood in front of the witnesses to keep them at bay, neither cop showing an trace of concern for the man on the ground.
“You’re going to just sit there with your knee on his neck?” a witness asks.
Almost a minute into the video, it appears he is dead. A man whose only crime was resisting arrest. He has been identified as George Floyd and was in his 40s, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
“He’s not fucking moving!” a man exclaims. “Did they fucking kill him, bro?” a woman asks.
But the cop kept his knee on the man’s neck, even after another cop came and checked his pulse, not indicating whether he was dead or alive, not seeming to care one way or the other.
The incident took place Monday after police responded to a call of a forgery in progress. They were told the man was sitting on top of a blue car and appeared to be under the influence, according to a press release from the Minneapolis Police Department which also stated the following:
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.
The video began going viral Monday night and by Tuesday morning, police announced they have asked the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to investigate. A few hours later, they announced the FBI will be investigating as well.
According to the Washington Post:
“When I walked up, he was already on the ground,” (Daniella) Frazier said in a Facebook video. “The cops, they was pinning him down by his neck and he was crying. They wasn’t trying to take him serious.”
As more people gathered around the encounter outside the grocery store, the man pleaded that his whole body was in pain. Frazier recalled that the man’s face was being pressed so hard against the ground that his nose was bleeding.
Witnesses begged the white officer to take his knee off the man’s neck.
“You’re going to just sit there with your knee on his neck?” one bystander said on the video.
Minutes later, the man appeared to be motionless on the ground, his eyes closed and head laying against the road.
“Bro, he’s not even f—— moving!” one bystander pleaded to police. “Get off of his neck!”
Officer Chauvin has been involved in at least three shootings throughout his career at the Minneapolis Police Department, according to the Star-Tribune.
The man got out of the car on his own, but then “physically resisted” officers, Elder said. After they handcuffed him, officers noticed that the man was in “medical distress,” Elder said, and an ambulance was called to the scene.
He later walked back some of those statements, saying they were based on preliminary information.
“We try to put out information as quickly as possibly, information that we wholly believe to be honest and true.” he said. “And as we’re looking a little further we’re realizing there’s more to this.”
All body camera footage has been turned over to the BCA, which investigates most police shootings and in-custody deaths, and the officers involved have been put on paid administrative leave.
In the meantime, the department will also likely undertake its own internal investigation into whether they violated department policies on use of force and the obligation to intervene if they see another officer engaged in misconduct.
So far, little is known about Chauvin’s time with the department. But department records and news accounts show that he has been involved in at least three police-involved shootings over his career with the MPD: Wayne Reyes in 2006, and Leroy Martinez and Ira Latrell Toles, both in 2011.
Watch the video below or above. We will be updating this story as more information becomes available.
UPDATE: Four cops involved in the incident have been fired.
UPDATE II: A second video has surfaced showing the four cops involved in the incident.