Saint Paul: Four members of the Minneapolis Police Department have been fired over the death of a black man who was taken into custody and seen on video being pinned down by his neck.
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said the four officers were now “former employees”.
“We know there are inherent dangers in the profession of policing but the vast majority of the work we do never requires the use of force,” Arradondo said.
Footage of the incident
Footage shows the man, George Floyd, groaning and repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe” to the white officer, the BBC reported.
The video starts with the shirtless man on the ground, and does not show what happened in the moments prior. The unidentified officer is kneeling on his neck, ignoring his pleas. Please, please, please, I can’t breathe. Please, man, said Floyd, who has his face against the pavement.
Floyd also moans. One of the officers tells him to relax. The man calls for his mother and says: My stomach hurts, my neck hurts, everything hurts … I can’t breathe.
As bystanders shout their concern, one officer says, He’s talking, so he’s breathing. But Floyd stops talking and slowly becomes motionless under the officer’s restraint. The officer does not remove his knee until the man is loaded onto a gurney by paramedics.
Several witnesses had gathered on a nearby sidewalk, some recording the scene on their phones. The bystanders become increasingly agitated. One man yells repeatedly.
He’s not responsive right now! Two witnesses, including one woman who said she was a Minneapolis firefighter, yell at the officers to check the man’s pulse. Check his pulse right now and tell me what it is! she said.
At one point, an officer says: Don’t do drugs, guys. And one man yells, Don’t do drugs, bro? What is that? What do you think this is? The Hennepin
The incident echoed that of Eric Garner, a black man who died being arrested in New York City in 2014.
FBI to investigate Minneapolis incident
The FBI has said it will investigate the Minneapolis incident, which took place on Monday evening.
Minnesota police said Floyd, who had worked providing security at a restaurant, died after a “medical incident” in a “police interaction”.
On Tuesday afternoon, Mayor Jacob Frey confirmed the four officers involved in the incident had been “erminated”.
“This is the right call,” he tweeted.
At a press conference earlier, Frey had described the incident as “completely and utterly messed up”.
In a post on his Facebook page, Frey apologized to the black community for the officer’s treatment of the man.
Being black in America should not be a death sentence
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, Frey posted.
The video was widely shared on social media sparking national outcry from politicians and members of the public who have called for the police officers involved to be held accountable.
The names of the four cops have not been released, but the two seen in the video have been identified by Floyd’s family’s lawyer as officers Derek Chauvin and Tou Thao.