4 Minneapolis Police officers have been sacked due to video on social media of an officer kneeling on a black man’s neck while he pleads that he can’t breathe, which eventually lead to in his death.
The incredibly disturbing video shows the man, identified as George Floyd, being apprehended by police officers in downtown Minneapolis on Monday. “Pleading to officers that he can’t breathe, please man,” the man is heard wailing on the video, which was recorded by an eye witness. A police officer is seen with his knee directly on Floyd’s neck, pinning him to the ground, as bystanders beg for him to stop. “He’s not even resisting arrest right now, bro,” one is heard saying, as another comments that Floyd’s nose is bleeding and that he looks like he’s about to pass out.
About seven minutes into the video, Floyd is seen losing consciousness. “He’s not even fucking moving. Get off of his fucking neck,” one person yells, with other bystanders clamouring for the police to check Floyd’s pulse.
According to a police statement, officers were called on Monday night to investigate reports of a forgery and found Floyd in his car. “He was ordered to step from his car. After he got out, he physically resisted officers,” police spokesman John Elder said. “Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress.” He was transported to the hospital, where he later died of his injuries.
The FBI and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension are investigating the incident. On Tuesday afternoon, authorities announced that the four officers involved in the arrest had been fired. “This is the right call,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said on Twitter.
The video sparked mass outrage on social media, with people comparing the footage to the 2014 murder of Eric Garner, a black man who died in the custody of New York City police after repeatedly complaining he couldn’t breathe. Despite the massive public outcry over Garner’s death, the arresting officer, Daniel Pantaleo, ultimately did not face federal charges.
In a post on his Facebook page, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey referred to Floyd’s death as “completely and utterly messed up.” “Whatever the investigation reveals, it does not change the simple truth, he should still be with us this morning. I believe what I saw and what I saw is wrong on every level,” he wrote before apologizing to Floyd’s family and to the black community.
“Being black in America should not be a death sentence,” Frey wrote. “When you hear someone calling for help, you are supposed to help, and this officer failed in the most basic human sense.”