MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - "Please, please I can’t breathe.”
Those were the words of George Floyd as his neck was pinned under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer near the intersection of E. 38th Street and Chicago Avenue at about 8 p.m. Monday night. The fatal incident, and Floyd’s pleas, were captured on video taken by a bystander. It goes on for more than 7 minutes with bystanders begging the officers to let the man up before Floyd loses consciousness, at which point the bystanders start calling for the officers to check his pulse.
Attorney Benjamin Crump identified George Floyd as the man who died while being detained by Minneapolis police. Crump said he has been retained by Floyd's family.
“We all watched the horrific death of George Floyd on video as witnesses begged the police officer to take him to the police car and get off his neck,” 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. We will seek justice for the family of George Floyd, as we demand answers from the Minneapolis Police Department. How many ‘while black’ deaths will it take until the racial profiling and undervaluing of black lives by police finally ends?”
The FBI is taking the lead in the investigation into the incident, assisted by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said he called the FBI in to investigate possible civil rights violations.
The officers were wearing body worn cameras, which were activated during the incident.
Arradondo said the officers have been placed on relief of duty status, meaning they will get paid, but will have no law enforcement duties or responsibilities until the investigation into the incident is complete.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey called Floyd’s death “completely and utterly messed up.”
“Being black in America should not be a death sentence,” he said.
Darnella Frazier, the bystander who shot the video, said she was walking to the shops when she saw officers restraining the man. She said he was crying and complaining about how he could not breathe, so she pulled out her phone and started recording.
“A lady that claimed to be a firefighter demanded for them to check his pulse and they completely ignored her and was very rude to her," Frazier said. "Eventually he stopped talking and went silent. That’s when he looked dead. It looked as if he was running out of energy and time, and eventually slowly was dying. I’ve seen police be aggressive but never kill someone in front of me.”