A new video in the incident that ended in the death of George Floyd shows the moment that Minneapolis police officers first encountered him in a vehicle.
The new video is one of three citizen videos to emerge so far showing different moments in the police encounter with Floyd, whose death has sparked protests and outrage. The video that went viral shows Officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on the neck of Floyd, who then went silent and later died after repeatedly pleading in anguished tones that he couldn’t breathe. You can also watch that video later in this article but be aware that it’s very disturbing.
However, that video started with Floyd already on the ground being restrained by Chauvin. The other two new videos that have emerged since then show snippets of early moments of the police encounter. Minneapolis police say that body cam footage also exists, but that footage has not been publicly release.
Officer Derek Chauvin has now been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter in connection with George Floyd’s death. You can read more about that here.
Here are videos showing the early moments.
The City of Minneapolis says Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, and J. Alexander Kueng were the other three officers present. All four officers have been fired, and state and federal investigations are underway.
The Minneapolis mayor tweeted that “four responding MPD officers involved in the death of George Floyd have been terminated. This is the right call.” Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo called the four officers “former employees” in a news conference.
Floyd was originally from Houston, Texas. He was known by the nickname “Big Floyd,” his Facebook page says. The Star-Tribune reported that the initial call came in for someone using a counterfeit bill at a store, Cup Foods, at 3759 Chicago Avenue. When police arrived, they believed Floyd matched the description and found him sitting on the hood of his car, according to the newspaper.
“As additional information has been made available, it has been determined that the Federal Bureau of Investigations will be a part of this investigation,” Minneapolis police wrote in a news release. Floyd’s name was released by community leaders.
A community leader said during a press conference, standing next to the chief and mayor, that the death was a “lynching.”
“We are sick and tired of being sick and tired. Too many lives have been taken,” she said. “Yesterday what we saw was a black man who was lynched. They didn’t use rope. He used his knee. And that black man, Mr. Floyd, said I can not breathe. Minnesota prides itself on being progressive, and being the north, but this is the Jim Crow north and we demand justice.”
She said she was thankful to the chief and the mayor “for standing with us. We are standing together as a community. We are a collective, and we will not be divided. We are done dying.”
Heavy reached out to Tom Kelly, the lawyer for Chauvin, and his office said Kelly is not commenting right now on the case and that reporters should direct their questions to the Minneapolis Police Department. Lt. Bob Kroll, of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, told CBS Minneapolis: “Now is not the time rush to judgement and immediately condemn our officers. An in-depth investigation is underway. Our officers are fully cooperating. We must review all video. We must wait for the medical examiner’s report.”
A use of force expert interviewed by Heavy has called the police actions in the video “appalling.” You can read that interview here.
Here’s what you need to know
The Disturbing Viral Video Shows Floyd Saying, ‘Please, I Can’t Breathe’ as the Officer Keeps His Knee Pinned on the Man’s Neck
A 10-minute video was posted to Facebook by a bystander. It paints an extremely troubling scene of what happened to Floyd. You can watch it above, but be warned that it’s very disturbing.
“Please, I can’t breathe. Please man. Please,” Floyd says, his voice anguished.
The officer, now identified as Chauvin, has his knee on the man’s neck against a squad car, as Floyd continues saying he can’t breathe. There is a second officer standing nearby at the scene and a third next to Chauvin, and bystanders grow increasingly distressed in the video at what they are watching.
“Why you got him down, man. Let him breathe at least, man,” says one bystander to the officers.
Floyd repeats again, several times, “I can’t breathe.” He added, “I can’t move. … My stomach hurts. My neck hurts. Everything hurts. Please, please.”
“His nose is bleeding, c’mon now,” says a passerby. “You’ve got your knee on his neck,” says another bystander.
“How long you’ll gotta hold him down?” says a woman. “You can put him in a car,” says a man.
“That’s bullsh*t bro. … you’re f*cking stopping his breathing,” says a bystander.
People challenged the officer to just put the man in a car. The bystanders call the officer a “bum” and claim he’s stopping Floyd’s breathing.
Partway through the video, Floyd stops talking, but the officer keeps his knee on Floyd’s neck, the video shows.
“He’s not responsive right now,” challenges a bystander.
“Check his pulse,” demands a man.
The second officer, named as Tou Thao, sometimes interacts with the passerby. “Check his pulse. The man ain’t move yet, bro,” demands a bystander.
“He’s not f*cking moving. Get off of his f*cking neck,” the man yells. “Are you serious? Are you serious?”
“He’s black. They don’t care,” says a woman.
Paramedics eventually show up with a gurney after Floyd has gone silent for some time.
“The fact you guys aren’t checking his pulse and doing compression if he needs help?” says an upset woman.
“You just really killed that man, bro,” says a man to Chauvin, who appears unemotional and impassive throughout the video.
Only three officers can be seen in the video, one briefly and barely. However, a photo on Twitter from a different angle appears to show four officers:
The initial headline on the police press release stated, “Man Dies After Medical Incident During Police Interaction.” However, top Minneapolis officials are becoming increasingly critical of the officer.
According to the Star Tribune, police spokesman John Elder said Floyd died at a nearby hospital a short time later. He “suffered a medical episode while struggling with officers,” Elder said a few hours after the incident occurred and said he appeared to be under the influence of either alcohol or another drug, the newspaper reported. However, Elder now says the chokehold was not a department-authorized technique, according to the newspaper, which quoted him as saying, “In my years as an officer, that would not be what I would ever consider a chokehold.”
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has been harshly critical, saying in a news conference, “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. What happened on Chicago and 38th last night is awful. It was traumatic. It serves as a reminder of how far we have to go.”
The police chief said in a May 26 news conference that “there are inherent dangers in the profession of policing, but the vast majority of the work we do does never require use of force.” He offered his “deepest condolences” to Floyd’s family members, saying he was up all night “reviewing the information that I have to make the decision that I am standing before you today with many of the community leaders behind me.”
He then referred to the four involved officers as “former employees,” saying “I’ve made that decision this afternoon.” He said the death is still an ongoing criminal matter being investigated by agencies including the FBI.
“What occurred last night is certainly very tragic, and very sad,” said the police chief.
According to the police press release, “On Monday evening, shortly after 8:00 pm, officers from the Minneapolis Police Department responded to the 3700 block of Chicago Avenue South on a report of a forgery in progress. Officers were advised that the suspect was sitting on top of a blue car and appeared to be under the influence.”
At that point, “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 release added, “At no time were weapons of any type used by anyone involved in this incident. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has been called in to investigate this incident at the request of the Minneapolis Police Department. No officers were injured in the incident. Body worn cameras were on and activated during this incident.”
In a news conference after outrage erupted over the video and death, Minneapolis police Chief Medaria Arradondo said that he asked for the federal investigation because there was “additional information that I had received that quite frankly, from community sources, that just provided more context than I had preliminarily.”