4 Minneapolis police officers fired after man dies in police custody

MINNEAPOLIS — Four Minneapolis police officers have been fired after video surfaced of one of the officers holding his knee to a man’s neck as the man struggled to breathe one day earlier.

The man, identified by attorney Benjamin Crump as George Floyd, was pronounced dead after the incident. Authorities, including the FBI, are investigating.

Update 3:45 p.m. EDT May 26: In a statement posted Tuesday on Twitter, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey confirmed the officers involved in the incident had been fired.

“This is the right call,” he said.

A video of the incident caught by a passerby and posted online early Friday showed an officer holding his knee to George Floyd’s neck after responding to a report of a forgery in progress, according to police and attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing Floyd’s family.

“We all watched the horrific death of George Floyd on video as witnesses begged the police officer to take him into the police car and get off his neck,” Crump said Tuesday in a statement. He called the actions of police “abusive, excessive and inhumane" and noted that Floyd was being detained for questioning about a non-violent charge.

Authorities continue to investigate.

Original report: The FBI is investigating after video surfaced early Tuesday that appeared to show a police officer holding a knee against a man’s neck as he struggled to breathe shortly before he was pronounced dead at a hospital.

The 10-minute video was caught by Darnella Frazier, who was on her way to meet with friends Monday night when she saw a man on the ground near a police cruiser and began to record, The Washington Post reported.

In the video, later posted on Facebook, the man on the ground can be heard shouting that he can't breathe.

“Don’t kill me!” he said, according to the Post.

In a news briefing early Tuesday with police Chief Medaria Arradondo, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said the officer seen in the video with his knee to the man’s neck “failed in the most basic human sense,” according to KARE.

"For five minutes we watched as a white officer pressed his knee to the neck of a black man," he said. "For five minutes."

Police said they were called around 8 p.m. Monday to a report of a forgery in progress on the 3700 block of Chicago Avenue South. Officers who responded found a man in his 40s who was believed to have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Police said officers ordered him to step away from his car and that afterward he “physically resisted officers.”

"Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress," police said in a statement released after the incident. "Officers called for an ambulance. He was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center by ambulance where he died a short time later."

In video of the incident, bystanders can be heard questioning officers’ treatment of the man.

“He’s not even resisting arrest right now, bro,” a bystander tells one of the two responding officers in the video, according to WCCO. “You’re (expletive) stopping his breathing right now, you think that’s cool?”

The video shows when the man on the ground appears to lose consciousness.

“Whatever the investigation reveals, it does not change the simple truth … that he should be with us this morning,” Frey said Tuesday, according to KARE.

The two officers who responded to the incident have been placed on paid administrative leave as authorities investigate, according to WCCO. Neither the officers nor the man who died were identified.