A woman confronted former Minneapolis Police Officer J. Alexander Kueng at a grocery store in Minnesota, telling him he had no right to be at the store as he tried to check out. Kueng is one of four officers criminally charged in the death of George Floyd.
The video has gone viral on social media, where it has received more than 2 million views. All of the officers were fired after a different video went viral showing the restraint of Floyd. Former Officer J.A. Kueng was released on $750,000 bail; another of the four officers, Thomas Lane, also was released on bail.
Watch the video of the grocery store confrontation here:
According to the Star Tribune, Kueng, who is black, was raised by a single mother “on Minneapolis’s predominately black north side.” He worked for the University of Minnesota security force part-time while attending college there and was a theft prevention officer at Macy’s. Kueng, 26, became a police officer to “make his community a better place,” the Star Tribune reported, adding that he was a rookie on the force. Kueng’s lawyer has argued that it was only Kueng’s third shift on the job. According to Law and Crime, Kueng was hired in February 2019 by the Minneapolis Police Department and became a full officer that December. His lawyer also alleges that Kueng told the other cops, “you shouldn’t do that.”
The grocery store video starts with the woman recognizing Kueng at a Cub Foods.
“What?” Kueng says as he seems to notice he is being videotaped.
“What’s your name?” the person asked.
“Oh, yeah, that’s me,” Kueng says.
“It is you?”
“Mm-hmm,” Kueng says nodding.
“So you’re out of prison —”
“— and you’re comfortably shopping in Cub Foods as if you didn’t do anything.”
“I’m not, I wouldn’t call it comfortably. I would just say getting necessities or helping.”
Here’s what you need to know:
The Woman Tells Kueng She Doesn’t Think He Should Have the ‘Right’ to Be Out Grocery Shopping
“I don’t think you should have that right. I don’t even think you should be out on bail,” the woman says in the video.
“I can understand that,” Kueng says.
“I mean, how does it feel?” the person asks him.
“Sorry you feel that way,” he says before turning to walk away and stand in line.
“No, you’re not sorry. You’re like, literally, out here comfortably as if you didn’t kill that man,” she says.
“Did you think that people weren’t going to recognize you?” the person asks, following him to the line. “Honestly did you? You don’t have the right to be here. You killed somebody in cold blood. You do not have the right to be here.”
“I understand. I’ll get my stuff and pay for it –” he starts saying as he walks in the checkout line holding a package of Oreo cookies.
“No, we don’t want you to get your stuff. We want you to be locked up. You’re honestly in Cub Foods comfortably shopping out of prison. Like, do you feel any remorse for what you did? Do you? This is the officer who was let out of jail today for shooting George Floyd or I’m sorry, suffocating him. You’re not going to be able to comfortably go around Minnesota like this. I pulled up the picture. I knew it was you. It’s just like, he was there, and they were killing them. And it’s just like crazy that you’re here, just thinking everything is OK. I mean you don’t want to apologize, you don’t want to say anything, like, no? Because this video is going to be on the Internet. Yeah he has the nerve to literally come outside thinking we don’t know what he looks like. How dare you. You’re not going to be able to comfortably live in Minnesota or anywhere, and you will be going back to jail. Trust. Trust. Yeah, he bailed out. How’d you get the money? How’d you get the money?”
She continued: “And you’re lucky that they don’t have your address. You’re lucky that they don’t have your address… This is one of the police officers that was involved in killing George Floyd. He was out on bail today, and he’s out here comfortably shopping at Cub Foods.”
The video then ends.
Kueng Is Facing Criminal Charges
Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis, Minnesota, police officer who was seen in a viral video kneeling on the neck of a black man named George Floyd, sparking unrest throughout the city and outrage throughout the country, has now been charged with second-degree murder by Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison.
Previously, Chauvin was charged by the Hennepin County Attorney with third-degree murder and manslaughter in connection with Floyd’s death. Ellison added the second-degree murder charge. Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J Alexander Kueng, the other three officers at the scene, are charged by Ellison with unintentional aiding and abetting second-degree murder as well as aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
The amended complaint adds new autopsy findings and says that Floyd’s “condition continued to deteriorate such that force was no longer necessary to control him. The defendant (Chauvin) had his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in total. Two minutes and 53 seconds of this was after Mr. Floyd was non-responsive. Officer Chauvin’s restraint of Mr. Floyd in this manner for a prolonged period was a substantial causal factor in Mr. Floyd losing consciousness, constituting substantial bodily harm, and Mr. Floyd’s death as well.”
The complaint says that Floyd’s autopsy revealed “no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation. Mr. Floyd had underlying health conditions including coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease. The combined effects of Mr. Floyd being restrained by the police, his underlying health conditions and any potential intoxicants in his system likely contributed to his death.” Chauvin “had his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in total. Two minutes and 53 seconds of this was after Mr. Floyd was non-responsive. Police are trained that this type of restraint with a prone position is inherently dangerous,” the complaint says. It also says that Chauvin disregarded another officer, Thomas Lane, who asked, “should we roll him on his side?” Chauvin allegedly responded, “No, staying put where we got him,” the complaint says.
On June 1, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner ruled the cause of death was homicide, writing that Floyd’s cause of death was: “Cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression.”
The ME gave the manner of death as “Homicide,” saying, “Decedent experienced a cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained by law enforcement officer(s).” They listed other significant conditions as “Arteriosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease; fentanyl intoxication; recent methamphetamine use.” The new charges came after the ME’s final conclusions.
An independent autopsy conducted by a famed pathologist at the request of George Floyd’s family has found that “George Floyd’s death was due to asphyxia from sustained forceful pressure” by Minneapolis police officers, according to a news conference and release by the Floyd family attorneys.
The Complaint Describes the Last Agonizing Moments of George Floyd & Indicates Officers Tried in Vain to Get Him Into a Car
The criminal complaint says that a person called 911 on May 25, 2020, and reported that a man “bought merchandise from Cup Foods…with a counterfeit $20 bill.”
Officers Thomas Lane and J.A. Kueng arrived at 8:08 p.m. They learned from store personnel that the man “who passed the counterfeit $20 was parked in a car around the corner from the store on 38th Street.”
The officers’ body-worn cameras show that the officers approached the car, with Lake on the driver’s side and Kueng on the passenger side. Three people were in the car. George Floyd was in the driver’s scene and an adult male and female were also in the vehicle, the complaint says.
The complaint further alleges:
As Officer Lane began speaking with Floyd, “he pulled his gun out and pointed it at Mr. Floyd’s open window and directed Mr. Floyd to show his hands.” Floyd put his hands on the steering wheel, so Lane put his gun back in its holster. (The body cam videos have not yet been released publicly.)
When Kueng was speaking with the front seat passenger, Lane ordered Floyd out of the car, put his hands on Floyd, and pulled him out of the car, handcuffing him. “Mr. Floyd actively resisted being handcuffed,” the complaint alleges.
Once handcuffed, Floyd “became compliant” and walked with Lane to the sidewalk, sitting on the ground at Lane’s direction. There was a conversation for under two minutes. Lang asked Floyd for his name and identification and whether he was on anything and explained he was arrested Floyd for passing counterfeit currency, the complaint stated.
Kueng and Lane stood Floyd up and attempted to walk him to their squad car at 8:14 p.m. Floyd “stiffened up, fell to the ground, and told the officers he was claustrophobic.”
That’s when Chauvin and Officer Tou Thao arrived in a separate squad car.
“The officers made several attempts to get Mr. Floyd in the backseat of squad 320 from the driver’s side. Mr. Floyd did not voluntarily get in the car and struggled with the officers by intentionally falling down, saying he was not going in the car, and refusing to stand still,” the complaint alleges. “Mr. Floyd is over six feet tall and weighs more than 200 pounds.”
While standing outside the car, Floyd began “saying and repeatedly that he could not breathe.” Chauvin went to the passenger side and “tried to get Mr. Floyd into the car from that side and Lane and Kueng assisted,” according to the complaint.
Chauvin “pulled Mr. Floyd out of the passenger side of the squad car at 8:19:38 p.m. and Mr. Floyd went to the ground face down and still handcuffed,” said the complaint.
It alleged that Kueng held Floyd’s back and Lane held his legs. Chauvin placed his left knee in the area of Floyd’s head and neck. Floyd said, “I can’t breathe” multiple times and repeatedly said, “Mama.”
“The defendant and the other two officers stayed in their positions,” according to the complaint.
The officers said, “You are talking fine,” to Floyd. Lane asked, “should we roll him on his side?” Chauvin allegedly responded, “No, staying put where we got him.”
Lane said, “I am worried about excited delirium or whatever.” Chauvin said, “That’s why we have him on his stomach,” according to the complaint, which added that “none of the three officers moved from their positions.”
The body cam video shows that Floyd continued to move and breathe but stopped moving at 8:24:24.
At 8:25:31, the video appears to show Floyd ceasing to breathe or speak. Lane said, “I want to roll him on his side.” Kueng checked Floyd’s right wrist for a pulse and said, “I couldn’t find one.” None of the officers moved from their positions.
At 8:27:24, Chauvin removed his knee from Floyd’s neck. An ambulance arrived and Floyd was placed on a gurney. Floyd was pronounced dead at Hennepin County Medical Center.
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. Two videos have emerged showing earlier moments before Floyd was restrained.
According to KTSP-TV, both Floyd and Chauvin worked security at El Nuevo Rodeo club, according to the building’s former owner, Maya Santamaria. “Chauvin was our off-duty police for almost the entirety of the 17 years that we were open,” Santamaria said to the television station. “They were working together at the same time, it’s just that Chauvin worked outside and the security guards were inside.” She told KTSP that they “overlapped working security on popular music nights within the last year” but she can’t say for sure that they knew each other.
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.”
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.”
In the Disturbing Video, Floyd Says, ‘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.