4 Responding Officers Fired: George Floyd Dies After Video Shows White Officer Kneeling On His Neck, ‘I Can’t Breathe’

4 Responding Officers Fired: George Floyd Dies After Video Shows White Officer Kneeling On His Neck, ‘I Can’t Breathe’

George Floyd
Four responding police officers have been fired in the death of George Floyd. A video shows a white Minneapolis Police Department officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck as Floyd says, “I can’t breathe” and begs for his life. Images: Facebook

Four responding officers have been fired after a video shared on social media showed a Minneapolis Police Department officer kneeling on the neck of a Black man who said he couldn’t breathe.

George Floyd was seen and heard begging for his life. He later died in police custody.

Floyd died on Monday night after the police were called at about 8 p.m. on Monday to investigate a report of a forgery at a business, according to police spokesman John Elder. Police found a man in his car matching the suspect’s description, AP reported.

Minneapolis police didn’t initially release the man’s name. Nationally recognized civil rights Attorney Benjamin Crump tweeted the name on Tuesday morning.

Crump announced that he will be representing the family of George Floyd, ABC5 reported. Known for his work on high-profile cases, Crump represented the families of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Tamir Rice.

Crump also identified two Minneapolis police officers Derek Chauvin and Tou Thao.

“George Floyd was MURDERED by MPD Officer Derek Chauvin (Badge #1087), while officer Tou Thao (Badge #7162) stood by & did NOTHING. Call Mayor @Jacob_Frey (612-673-2100) & demand IMMEDIATE TERMINATION of both officers. This video is all we need to see. No investigation necessary!” Crump tweeted.

Police denied that a knee to the neck constituted deadly force, insisting instead in a press release that “at no time were weapons of any type used by anyone involved in this incident.”

“I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!” Floyd said as bystanders gathered. “Don’t kill me!”

The death is under investigation by the FBI and state agents.

On Tuesday afternoon, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey tweeted, “Four responding MPD officers involved in the death of George Floyd have been terminated. This is the right call.”

Darnella Frazier recorded the incident outside a Cup Foods grocery store on the south side of Minneapolis and shared the 10-minute video on Facebook.

“When I walked up, he was already on the ground,” Frazier said in the video. “The cops, they was pinning him down by his neck and he was crying. They wasn’t trying to take him serious.”

The video shows two officers present, one kneeling on the man’s neck and another standing as if trying to block the bystander who’s making the recording.

“His name is George Floyd And he was murdered by the Minneapolis Police Department. A grocery store called the police on him when they thought he was writing a bad check” civil rights activist Shaun King tweeted.

More people gathered outside the grocery store. Frazier said that the man’s face was pressed so hard against the ground, his nose was bleeding, Washington Post reported.

The video recorded the voices of bystanders asking the officer to take his knee off the man’s neck.

“You’re going to just sit there with your knee on his neck?” one asked.

Later, the man lay motionless on the street, his eyes closed.

“Bro, he’s not even f—— moving!” one bystander said to the police. “Get off of his neck!”

Another asked, “Did you kill him?”

Prominent local activist Nekima Levy-Armstrong said Floyd’s death reminds her of the Eric Garner case, where an unarmed New Yorker died in 2014 after he was put in a chokehold by police while a bystander captured it on videotape.

Garner’s last words were “I can’t breathe,” repeated 11 times as officer Daniel Pantaleo’s arm tightened around Garner’s neck. The words #ICantBreathe went viral and became a rallying cry

A grand jury decided against indicting the officers involved in Garner’s death, triggering protests around the country. The Black Lives Matter movement campaigned to hold the NYPD accountable.

The video of Floyd’s strangulation made her “sick to her stomach,” Levy-Armstrong said — another example of police brutality toward African American men, the Star Tribune reported.

“Whatever the man may have done should not have ended in a death sentence,” she said. “What started as an alleged economic incident once again turned deadly for a black man.”

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey tried on Tuesday to use the coronavirus as a deterrent for potential protesters, asking them to take precautions and practice social distancing. Protesters “need to make sure everyone voicing their opinion is staying safe,” he said, according to AP.

“If you’re sad, I get it, if you’re angry, that makes complete sense, if you feel the need to protest, of course, we want to make sure people are able to express themselves,” Frey said. “There is another danger out there right now, which is COVID-19.”

Minneapolis police have been called out for how differently they handle run-ins with Black vs white citizens.

Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 71: Jamarlin Martin Jamarlin Martin discusses how J. Edgar Hoover’s goal to water down and neutralize strong Black politics involved informants and agents trading money and status for the water-down.

A white woman, Justine Rusczcyk Damond, died in 2017 when she was shot in the stomach by a Minneapolis officer responding to her 911 call. That officer, who is Black, was convicted of manslaughter and murder and is serving a 12-year prison sentence.

But prosecutors refused to prosecute officers when a 24-year-old Black man, Jamar Clark, was shot in the head and died in 2015 after a confrontation with two white officers responding to a reported assault. They said Clark was reaching for an officer’s gun when he was shot.