Video footage shot Monday by a bystander shows a white Minneapolis police officer kneeling on the neck of a black man, who can be heard pleading with the officers before passing out and later dying in police custody.
“I cannot breathe! I cannot breathe!” the man, identified as George Floyd, can be heard yelling, along with, “Everything hurts,” and “Don’t kill me!”
Onlookers can be heard pleading with the officers to let the man breathe, and one bystander says that the man’s nose is bleeding. The officer keeps his knee placed squarely on the neck of the man, believed to be in his 40s, for several minutes after the man appears to lose consciousness.
"I CAN'T BREATHE": Video shows George Floyd, a black man that police say was a possible "forgery" suspect, pleading with Minneapolis cops for air as they press a knee into his neck. Floyd loses consciousness and later dies.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 26, 2020
The officers responded to reports of a forgery in progress on Monday around 8 p.m.at the 3700 block of Chicago Avenue South. Police said in a statement that “officers were advised that the suspect was sitting on top of a blue car and appeared to be under the influence.”
“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,” the statement said. “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.”
The police statement noted that “at no time were weapons of any type used by anyone involved in this incident,” and said body cameras were “on and activated during this incident.”
The FBI will now investigate the incident as a potential civil rights violation, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said Tuesday at a press briefing.
Two of the officers involved in the incident have been relieved of duty but are still being paid, Arradondo said.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey condemned the incident at a press conference on Tuesday, saying the officer “failed in the most basic human sense.”
“Being black in America should not be a death sentence,” Frey said. “For five minutes, we watched as a white officer pressed his knee to the neck of a black man. For five minutes. When you hear someone calling for help, you are supposed to help.”