MINNEAPOLIS — Four Minneapolis police officers were fired after a man died after being arrested Monday. Mayor Jacob Frey announced the news Tuesday, saying it was “the right call.”
In a video of the incident, the man is heard telling officers, “I can’t breathe,” and asking for water. The FBI and Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension have been called in to investigate.
Bystanders were heard telling the officer who had his knee on the man’s neck to get off of him. A second officer ordered people to back away from the scene.
Just after 8 p.m., police responded to the 3700 block of Chicago Avenue South on a report of a “forgery in progress.”
Police were told that a suspect was sitting on top of a blue car and appeared to be under the influence. Two officers arrived and found the suspect, a man believed to be in his 40s, in his car. He was ordered to step out.
After he got out, he “physically resisted officers,” police said in a news release. “Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress.”
Officers called for an ambulance, and he was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center by ambulance where he died “a short time later.”
No weapons were used in the incident, investigators said. Body-worn cameras were on and activated during this incident, according to police.
The video of the incident has been shared more than 19,000 times.
The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office released a statement saying it was “shocked and saddened” by the video.
“The BCA and FBI are both investigating this case. This office, through several of our most veteran prosecutors, is assisting in directing that investigation. We are also in consultation with the US Attorney. At the end of the investigation, the findings will be presented to our office for consideration of prosecution. We promise a thorough, expedited review consistent with our on-going commitment to justice. Every person is entitled to fairness; no person stands above the law.
Our office will have no further comment until we announce our decision on prosecution.”
Benjamin Crump, a civil rights attorney who previously represented the family of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, has been retained by the family of the man who died. Crump identified the deceased man as George Floyd.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey condemned the officers’ actions in a Tuesday morning news conference.
“Being black in America should not be a death sentence,” Frey stated.
“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. What happened on Chicago and 38th last night is awful. It was traumatic. It serves as a reminder of how far we have to go.”
“I believe what I saw, and what I saw is wrong on every level,” he added. “This does not reflect the values Chief [Medaria] Arradondo has worked tirelessly to fulfill. To our black community, to the family: I’m so sorry.”
Other elected officials in Minnesota also publicly criticized the officers involved:
“The lack of humanity in this disturbing video is sickening,” Gov. Tim Walz tweeted. “We will get answers and seek justice.”
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