The internet is demanding accountability and the FBI is investigating after video surfaced of a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on the neck of a black man who later died.
In the video, captured on Monday, May 25, an officer kneels on a black man's neck while another stands nearby looking towards bystanders.
The handcuffed man can be heard repeatedly telling the officers:
"Please man, I can't breathe...I cannot breathe. I cannot breathe."
BREAKING: A video shows a Minneapolis police officer pinning down a black man by the neck with his knee for several… https://t.co/McdwmUv4zG— Mukhtar M. Ibrahim (@Mukhtar M. Ibrahim) 1590476568.0
The officer continues to kneel on the man's neck as onlookers scream for him to stop.
Before long, the man's eyes close and he becomes unresponsive. After many minutes had passed, officers called for an ambulance.
The man, identified on Twitter as George Floyd, was declared dead shortly after reaching the hospital.
MEDIA ALERT: I have been retained to represent the family of George Floyd, the man killed by Minneapolis Police on… https://t.co/kw4tAooIZ2— Ben Crump (@Ben Crump) 1590506835.0
The police issued a statement saying they were responding to a "forgery in progress" and that the man "appeared intoxicated" and "physically resisted" arrest.
They also note, without mentioning the officer kneeling on the suspect's neck:
"Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress."
The FBI is looking into the death of a black man after he was stopped by police in Minneapolis. Video of the confro… https://t.co/grrxJ7Oyr8— CBS This Morning (@CBS This Morning) 1590494614.0
Police were responding to a report of forgery. Can you imagine police doing this to a white forgery suspect? His… https://t.co/vUNadG72P7— Holly Figueroa O'Reilly (@Holly Figueroa O'Reilly) 1590496701.0
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey described the encounter as "wrong on every level," and called for consequences, saying:
"He should not have died. What we saw was horrible, completely and utterly messed up. ... Whatever the investigation reveals, it does not change the simple truth that he should be with us this morning."
"Being Black in America should not be a death sentence. When you hear someone calling for help, you are supposed to help. This officer failed in the most basic human sense."
Chokeholds are banned under Minneapolis police policy—yet this officer didn’t hesitate to crush a man’s windpipe wi… https://t.co/2swp39LHfh— Julián Castro (@Julián Castro) 1590502357.0
Frey also offered his tentative support for a protest taking place at the location of the man's death.
He strongly encouraged anyone attending to practice social distancing and wear PPE.
Woke up to the news that Minneapolis Police murdered another Black man. This time, they used an unauthorized choke… https://t.co/btMm0RV8vR— Tana Hargest (@Tana Hargest) 1590492195.0
Always remember that police bought Dylann Roof some Burger King after he had murdered 9 Black people. George Floyd… https://t.co/Ixnw18h7Vp— W. Kamau Bell (@W. Kamau Bell) 1590511877.0
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and FBI are both investigating the widely-circulated video.
Both officers' body cameras also captured the incident and will be included in the inquiry.
Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin and his accomplice Tou Thao cruelly put George Floyd in a brutal chokehol… https://t.co/sKZBzR1xOS— Eugene Gu, MD (@Eugene Gu, MD) 1590505031.0
Minneapolis police kill Black people at a rate 13x higher than white people - a larger racial disparity than almost… https://t.co/wn5P9rAz3H— Samuel Sinyangwe (@Samuel Sinyangwe) 1590502548.0
In the meantime, both officers have been placed on paid administrative leave.
Their names have not been released, though the public continues to call for increased scrutiny of deaths of people of color while in police custody such as this one.