The death of a black man in Minnesota caused a wave of outrage in the United States after a video circulated showing a white police officer kneeling on his neck.
On Monday, the African-American identified as George Floyd, in his 40s, complains and repeatedly says, “I can’t breathe.” Then the man appears motionless in the images, before being put on a stretcher and transferred in an ambulance.
The incident was reminiscent of what happened to Eric Garner, a black man who died while being arrested in 2014 in New York. Garner repeated ” I can’t breathe” 11 times. The FBI joined the investigation into the events, the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) said in a statement Tuesday.
In addition, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said on Twitter on Monday that “four MPD officers involved in the death of George Floyd have been fired.”
The MPD said in a statement that Floyd had died “after a medical incident during a police interaction.”
Police were responding to a phone call reporting an alleged crime of ” counterfeiting .”
The complainants said that the suspect was “sitting on top of a blue car and appeared to be under the influence of some substance,” the MPD said.
Two officers located the suspect in his car and were ordered to get off the vehicle, but the man put up resistance, according to police.
In the 10-minute video filmed by a witness, an officer keeps Floyd on the ground and at one point he says, “Don’t kill me.”
Witnesses urged the officer to remove the knee from the man’s neck, noting that he was not moving. Some say, “Your nose is bleeding,” while others plead, “Get off your neck.”
Police said no weapons had been used during the incident and that the body camera images had been released to the Minnesota Office of Criminal Apprehension, which also launched an investigation.
Speaking to the US media on Tuesday, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said the use of force policies “with respect to putting someone under control” will be reviewed as part of the investigation.
The FBI declined to comment.
I Can’t Breathe
The phrase “I can’t breathe,” repeated by Eric Garner in 2014 before he died, became a rallying cry for activists protesting alleged police brutality against African-Americans.
Those were the final words of the 43-year-old man after a police officer applied a choke wrench to him.
A city medical examiner ruled that the strangulation contributed to Garner’s death. The police officer involved in Garner’s deadly arrest was fired more than five years later, in August 2019. At a press conference Tuesday, Mayor Frey described the incident as “completely and utterly disastrous. ”
Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, a former Democratic nominee for the US presidency, released a statement calling for a ” full and comprehensive external investigation.”