Minneapolis police have found themselves at the center of a massive scandal after two of its officers were caught on camera during an arrest, one of them on the ground brutally choking a motionless suspect to death.
A video of the shocking scene published on Facebook by a witness shows a white officer kneeling on the neck of a black man for at least seven minutes as he lies motionless near the police car while groaning and begging for his life.
“My stomach hurts. My neck hurts. Everything hurts. … [I need] water or something. Please. Please. I can’t breathe, officer. … I cannot breathe. I cannot breathe,” the man in the video can be heard saying.
The officer and his colleague, who appears to be casually walking around, seem to be unmoved by the man’s pleas as well as by those from the bystanders who’d gathered at the scene. One of them continues to hold the detainee in a brutal chokehold until the man gets completely unresponsive.
BREAKING: A video shows a Minneapolis police officer pinning down a black man by the neck with his knee for several minutes as the man screams: “I can’t breathe.”pic.twitter.com/V9K3IU36ap
An ambulance arrives then and takes the man to hospital. It was apparently too late, since the man died soon afterwards. Police then said that the officers were responding to a “forgery in progress” and had been “advised” that the suspect “appeared to be under the influence.” The man was said to have “physically resisted” the arrest, prompting the police to use force to handcuff him, only to supposedly realize he was “suffering from a medical distress.”
An update from the department’s PIO: pic.twitter.com/DZDLHp99Wd
“At no time was any weapon of any kind used by anyone involved in this incident,” a police spokesman specifically noted. Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said on Tuesday that the FBI has launched a probe into the case due to possible civil rights violation. The officers were put on paid administrative leave.
The family of the victim, who was identified as George Floyd, has retained a renowned civil rights attorney, Benjamin Crump, who already has represented the family of Micheal Brown killed by police in Ferguson, to front for them in court in a case against the Minneapolis police.
MEDIA ALERT: I have been retained to represent the family of George Floyd, the man killed by Minneapolis Police on May 25. #JusticeForFloyd#ICantBreathepic.twitter.com/OkQeBwIlf1
The incident also sparked a major public outcry on social media, with people venting their anger over what has been called a brutal murder. Many officials and media figures, including Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey and former Democratic presidential primaries candidate, Amy Klobuchar, published statements, expressing sympathy with the victim’s family and condemning the police actions.
My full official statement from earlier this morning:https://t.co/Ldo4WFlSM8https://t.co/hOe5Ti7MWY
My statement on the officer-involved death in Minneapolis: pic.twitter.com/HUoGfXEj7R
The fate of George Floyd is reminiscent of that of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man choked to death by an NYPD officer in 2014 on suspicion of selling untaxed cigarettes. His death was described by a medical examiner as homicide but a Richmond County grand jury eventually decided not to indict an officer involved in this case. The decision sparked massive protests against police brutality across the US.
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