We already have enough going on in 2020 and to see something like this is so disheartening and unacceptable. Our society should no longer be here! This is horrible, we have to do better. They can’t feel like it’s ok for this to happen to our African American community.
More on this story as reported by nytimes.com –
Mr. Floyd died after being handcuffed and pinned to the ground by an officer’s knee, in an episode that was recorded on video by a bystander, sparking condemnation and protests.
George Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American man, died on Monday after being handcuffed and pinned to the ground by a police officer’s knee, in an incident that was recorded on video and that sparked large protests in Minneapolis.
The explosive footage above, recorded by a bystander and shared widely on social media early Tuesday, incited community outrage, an F.B.I. civil rights investigation and the firing of the officer and three colleagues who were also at the scene.
On Wednesday, the Minneapolis Police Department identified the fired officers as Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng.
Mr. Floyd’s relatives have said that the officers should be charged with murder. “They treated him worse than they treat animals,” Philonise Floyd, Mr. Floyd’s brother, said on CNN. “They took a life — they deserve life.”
Mayor Jacob Frey of Minneapolis was quick to condemn the officers’ actions, and on Wednesday, he called on prosecutors to file charges against the officer who had his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck.
“I want to see a charge take place,” Mr. Frey said at a news conference, without specifying what charge he thought was warranted. “I want to see justice for George Floyd.”
What we know about Mr. Floyd’s death:
- Mr. Floyd grew up and played high school football in Houston, and later worked in a Minneapolis restaurant.
- The original police report said Mr. Floyd had resisted arrest.
- The video shows the aftermath of the arrest, with Mr. Floyd pleading that he can’t breathe.
- Four officers have been fired, and the F.B.I. is investigating.
- Mr. Floyd’s relatives are pushing for murder charges.
- Police used tear gas and other means to break up protests.
- The case has drawn condemnation and comparisons to the death of Eric Garner.
Mr. Floyd lived in St. Louis Park, a Minneapolis suburb. He was pronounced dead at 9:25 p.m. Monday at Hennepin County Medical Center, according to the medical examiner.
He grew up in Houston, in a black neighborhood south of downtown known as the Third Ward, and was raised in a house with his siblings and two cousins, Shareeduh Tate and Tera Brown. Their mothers were sisters, Ms. Tate said.
A reporter for a Houston television station posted a video clip on Twitter of Mr. Floyd scoring a touchdown at a high school football game nearly 30 years ago. He was a tight end for the Jack Yates High School team, and the clip shows Mr. Floyd leaping high into the air to catch a pass in the end zone during a 1992 game at Delmar Stadium in Houston.
Mr. Floyd graduated from Yates High in 1993, the Houston school district confirmed on Wednesday. Ms. Tate said her cousin moved to Minneapolis four or five years ago, and Ms. Brown said he talked about the city as a welcoming place.
“He was happy there. He had made friends and had talked about training to become a truck driver,” said Ms. Brown, 48, an accounting manager. “He came home for his mother’s funeral two years ago, and he told me he had decided to stay.”
Jovanni Thunstrom, the owner of Conga Latin Bistro in Minneapolis, said he employed Mr. Floyd as a bouncer at the restaurant, and was also his landlord.
“No one had nothing bad to say about him,” Mr. Thunstrom said. “They all are shocked he’s dead. He never caused a fight or was rude to people.”
Mr. Thunstrom said Mr. Floyd paid his rent last week and told him that he was looking for a new job because Conga Latin Bistro has been closed to on-site dining since March because of the coronavirus. “I lost a friend,” Mr. Thunstrom said.
In Houston, friends and relatives gathered on Tuesday to remember Mr. Floyd in Emancipation Park, a site that was originally purchased by former slaves in the late 1800s. The Third Ward, where he grew up, has been a hub of social activism in Houston for decades.
Ms. Tate said she saw the video from Minneapolis on Tuesday morning, but didn’t realize the man in the street was the cousin she grew up with.
“I remember thinking how horrible this was, that a family’s loved one was murdered in the streets. Maybe five minutes later I got the call confirming my cousin was on that video,” said Ms. Tate, 49, a registered nurse.
“I went back and looked. The first time, it didn’t have audio. The second time, the audio was on. I heard the first, ‘I can’t breathe,’ and I knew it was him.”
The original police report said Mr. Floyd had resisted arrest.
The arrest of Mr. Floyd took place on Monday evening. The Minneapolis Police Department said in a statement that officers had responded to a call about a man suspected of forgery. The police said the man was found sitting on top of a blue car and “appeared to be under the influence.”
“He was ordered to step from his car,” the department’s statement said. “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.”
The statement said that officers had called for an ambulance.
On Tuesday morning, without referring to the video recorded by a bystander, the police updated a statement, titled “Man Dies After Medical Incident During Police Interaction,” saying that additional information had “been made available” and that the F.B.I. was joining the investigation.
The video shows the aftermath of the arrest, with Mr. Floyd pleading that he can’t breathe.
The bystander video shows a white Minneapolis police officer pressing his knee into a black man’s neck during an arrest, as the man repeatedly says, “I can’t breathe,” and, “Please, I can’t breathe.”
The video recorded in Minneapolis on Monday shows that after a few minutes, the man, lying face down in the street with his hands cuffed behind his back, becomes silent and motionless; the officer continues to pin the man to the pavement with his knee.
Bystanders plead and curse, begging the officer to stop and telling him the man’s nose is bleeding. Another officer faces the people gathered on the sidewalk. An ambulance medic arrives and, reaching under the officer’s knee, feels for a pulse on the man’s neck.
The medic turns away, and a stretcher is wheeled over. The arrested man is then rolled onto the stretcher, loaded into an ambulance and taken away.
The video did not show what had happened before the officer pinned the man to the ground by his neck.
Mr. Frey, the Minneapolis mayor, said on Tuesday that he did not know how the initial police statement, describing a “medical incident,” had come to be written, but he said he wanted to be “absolutely astransparent as possible.”
“It’s the kind of thing where you don’t hide from the truth, you lean into it, because our city is going to be better off for it, no matter how ugly, awful it is,” he said. “If it points out the institutional racism that we are still working through right now, well, good — it means thatwe’ve got a lot of work to go.”
Four officers have been fired, and the F.B.I. is investigating.
On Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Frey tweeted that four officers involved in the case had been terminated. “This is the right call,” he said.
The Police Department’s statement said that no weapons had been used and that the officers’ body cameras were recording. Mr. Frey said at a news conference Tuesday that he had seen the video “taken and posted by a civilian,” but not the body camera footage.
He said he had asked the F.B.I. to investigate, and in a statement posted to Twitter said, “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.”
The F.B.I. is conducting a federal civil rights investigation, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said in a statement. The state bureau also said that it was conducting its own investigation at the request of the Police Department and that it would release its findings to the Hennepin County district attorney’s office.
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