MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey called the death of a black man in police custody Monday night “completely and utterly messed up.”
“Being black in America should not be a death sentence,” he said.
Attorney Benjamin Crump identified the man who died as George Floyd, and 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?”
Floyd died at the hospital after he was detained by Minneapolis police officers near the intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue South. A video taken by a bystander showed one of the officers pinning Floyd to the ground and pressing his knee into the man’s neck as the man repeats that he cannot breathe. Floyd eventually becomes unresponsive, but the officer continues to hold his knee to the man’s neck until an ambulance arrives.
The mayor appeared visibly upset at a press conference Tuesday morning after having viewed the bystander video of the incident.
“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,” the mayor said.
He apologized to the black community for what happened.
“It was traumatic and it serves as a clear reminder of just how far we have to go,” Frey said.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter also reacted to the incident.
“The video of a Minneapolis police officer killing a defenseless, handcuffed man is one of the most vile and heartbreaking images I’ve ever seen,” he said in a statement. "The officer who stood guard is just as responsible as his partner; both must be held fully accountable. This must stop now.”
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.