MINNEAPOLIS — The family of a black man who died after video showed a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on his neck as he struggled to breathe and begged for his life is demanding that the officers involved in his death face murder charges.
George Floyd, 46, died Monday after officers detained him for questioning in connection with a possible forgery in progress, authorities said. On Tuesday, police said four officers involved in the man’s death had been fired.
“I would like for those officers to be charged with murder because that’s exactly what they did,” Bridgett Floyd said Wednesday during an appearance on NBC’s “Today” show. “They murdered my brother. He was crying for help.”
In a 10-minute video posted on social media and captured by a passerby, bystanders can be heard pleading with police to let Floyd up as he struggles to breathe.
"Bro, he's not even (expletive) moving," a bystander can be heard saying in the video. "Get off his neck!"
The video showed Floyd was unconscious by the time an ambulance arrived to take him to a hospital.
“The police killed him, bro, right in front of everybody,” said the woman who shot the video, Darnella Frazier, according to The Washington Post. “He was crying, telling them like, ‘I can’t breathe,’ and everything. … They killed this man.”
Attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Floyd’s family, said videos showed an officer kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes. He likened the 46-year-old’s death to that of Eric Garner, who died July 17, 2014, after being placed in a chokehold by police in New York City. Video of that situation showed Garner pleading with police for air as officers ignored him.
"It's a 'I can't breathe' again case in 2020, and it's worse than Eric Garner in many ways because you hear the people even pleading with them, 'Please get your knee off his neck. Have some humanity. This is a human being,'" Crump said.
Mayor Jacob Frey said Wednesday that he also believes the officers involved in Floyd's death should face murder charges. He noted that the technique used by the officer who subdued Floyd was not approved by the police department and should not have been used.
"We are not talking about a split-second decision that was made incorrectly," Frey said.
"There's somewhere around 300 seconds in those five minutes, every one of which the officer could have turned back. Every second of which he could have removed his knee from George Floyd's neck. Every one of which he could have listened to community around him, clearly saying that he needed to stop. Every one of which -- you heard George Floyd himself articulating the pain he was feeling and inability to breathe."
Authorities, including the FBI, are investigating the death.
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