Four police officers fired following death of unarmed black man who had neck knelt on during arrest

'This was the right call'

Justin Vallejo
New York
Tuesday 26 May 2020 22:11 BST
Four police officers fired following death of unarmed black man who had neck knelt on during arrest

Four Minneapolis police officers have been fired after video showed one of them kneeling on the neck of a black man who later died.

Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey confirmed the termination of the four officers on Tuesday.

“Four responding MPD officers involved in the death of George Floyd have been terminated,” he wrote on Twitter. “This was the right call.”

​​There was immediate outrage after the video, filmed on Monday, showed Mr Floyd on the ground with a police officer kneeling on the back of his neck.

Mr Floyd can be heard in the video moaning and asking police to get off him while bystanders pleaded with police to stop.

“My stomach hurts. My neck hurts. Everything hurts ... (I need) water or something. Please. Please. I can’t breathe, officer. I cannot breathe. I cannot breathe,” he can be heard saying.

Minneapolis Police chief Medaria Arrandondo announced that the four police officers had been fired over the incident but did not identify them.

Quoting two sources familiar with the investigation, the officer was identified as Derek Chauvin by the StarTribune.

The Federal Bureau of Investigations was called in to investigate after “additional information” was made available, according to a police statement.

Minneapolis police said the officers were called to Chicago Avenue South to reports of a forgery in progress with the suspect appearing under the influence.

“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,” the police statement said.

The Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis said in a statement that it was not the time to rush to judgement and immediately condemn its officers.

“Officers’ actions and training protocol will be carefully examined after the officers have provided their statements,” they said.

A protest was planned for Tuesday evening outside the Cup Foods corner store where the incident took place.

“The truth is that MPD officers caused the medical distress and death of the victim through their inhumane actions,” organisers said in a statement on the group’s Facebook page, I Can’t Breathe: Protest Against Police Violence.

“We are gathering at the site of Mr Floyd’s death, to demand justice for the victim and his family.”

Benjamin Crump, the attorney representing Mr Floyd’s family, said in a statement they would seek justice and demand answers.

“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,” Mr Crump said in a statement.

“How many ‘white black’ deaths will it take until the racial profiling and undervaluing of black lives by police finally ends?”

At a press conference on Tuesday before the four officers were fired, the mayor said being black in America should “not be a death sentence”.

“For five minutes, we watched a white officer press his knee into a black man’s neck. Five minutes. When you hear someone calling for help, you’re supposed to help. This officer failed in the most basic, human sense,” he said.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in