A video shared on social media Monday evening shows a Minneapolis police officer holding his knee on the neck of a handcuffed man. The man can be heard moaning and telling the officer he could not breathe. At no point in the video does the man show any form of resisting, however the cop continues to sit on his neck. An ambulance brought the man to Hennepin County Medical Center, where he died shortly after, police say.
Attorney Ben Crump, who is representing the family, identified the man as George Floyd.
“We all watched the horrific death of George Floyd on video as witnesses begged the police officer to take him into the police car and get off his neck,” civil rights attorney Crump said in a statement. “This abusive, excessive and inhumane use of force cost the life of a man who was being detained by the police for questioning about a non-violent charge.”
A report in the Minneapolis Star Tribune revealed that the officer who can be seen kneeling on Floyd’s neck in the video is Derek Chauvin, according to “two sources familiar with the investigation.”
According to a police statement the officers at the scene were responding to 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,” the statement said. “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,” according to the statement.
The statement said, adding: “At no time were weapons of any type used by anyone involved in this incident. … Body-worn cameras were on and activated during this incident.”
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said at a press conference Tuesday that the FBI will lead the investigation into the incident due to the possible civil rights violation.
Two of the officers involved have been “relieved of duty status,” Arradondo said. The officers are still receiving pay, but have no law enforcement duties.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey called the man’s death “simply awful,” and “wrong at every level” at the press conference Tuesday.
“For the better part of the night I’ve been trying to find the words to describe what happened and all I keep coming back to is that he should not have died,” Frey said.
“What we saw was horrible, completely and utterly messed up,” he said. “This man’s life matters, he matters. He was someone’s son, someone’s family member, someone’s friend. He was a human being and his life mattered.”