USA: Four Minneapolis police officers who were involved in the death of George Floyd were fired, Mayor Jacob Frey said on Tuesday.
“This is the right call,” Frey said in a tweet.
A video has circulated on social media showing a white police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck for several minutes on Monday. Floyd, a black man, pleaded for his life and said he wasn’t able to breathe, then stopped moving. The police said an ambulance took him to the hospital, where he died that evening.
“Please, please, please, I can’t breathe,” Floyd says in the video. “Don’t kill me.”
“Relax,” the officer, whom local news outlets identified as Derek Chauvin, says.
A police statement on Tuesday said two officers were responding to “a forgery in progress” on Monday evening. It said Floyd “physically resisted officers” but that the officers handcuffed him.
The video, published on Facebook, shows the officer thought to be Chauvin kneeling on Floyd for nearly eight minutes.
“His nose is bleeding,” a bystander can be heard saying.
“He ain’t even doing nothing,” another person says. “You could have put him in the f—ing car by now. He’s not resisting arrest or nothing.”
“Please, man, I can’t breathe,” Floyd says several times. At about the four-minute mark of the video, he stops moving.
“He’s not responsive right now, bro,” a man says. “Does he have a pulse?” a woman asks.
The video shows a crowd growing and a second officer standing in front of the officer. The first officer continues to kneel on Floyd’s neck until ambulance workers arrive with a gurney to carry Floyd away.
The police statement said that the officers called an ambulance after Floyd “appeared to be suffering medical distress” and that that the officers used body cameras during the incident.
Frey said the FBI and state authorities were investigating Floyd’s death.
In a press conference on Tuesday, Frey said that regardless of the investigation’s outcome, Floyd “should be with us this morning.”
“I believe what I saw, and what I saw was wrong at every level,” he said, adding, “Being black in America should not be a death sentence.”
“Our community continues to be traumatized again, and again and again,” said Councilwoman Andrea Jenkins, who represents the neighborhood where the incident took place. “We must demand answers.”
On Tuesday afternoon, Frey tweeted: “Four responding MPD officers involved in the death of George Floyd have been terminated. This is the right call.”
Benjamin Crump, the civil-rights attorney representing Floyd’s family, said in a statement on Tuesday that “this abusive, excessive, and inhuman use of force cost the life of a man who was being detained by police for questioning about a non-violent charge.”
The Minneapolis Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.