Minneapolis Protesters Outraged After Death of George Floyd

Four officers were fired a day after George Floyd's death.

Amanda Cooper
May 27, 2020 - 12:54 pm
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(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

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“Being Black in America should not be a death sentence” says Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey. His statement comes after a video of a white police officer pressed his knee into the neck of an unarmed black man while he gasps saying, “I can’t breathe.”
The video footage of George Floyd’s tragic end on Monday has sparked a national outcry for justice. In less than 24 hours after his death, thousands of protesters in Minneapolis flooded the streets. 
During the protest on Tuesday, videos on twitter show protesters tearing down a fence to a local police precinct and damaging police property out of rage. 

Despite Floyd’s cry for help and local bystanders telling the officers that they were killing Floyd and he could not breathe. The viral video posted on social media shows Derek Chauvin, the officer seen with his knee on Floyd’s neck, and Tou Thoa, the officer in the video, shielding back bystanders acting non-responsive to the crowd.   

In a swift move by Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, all four officers involved in the fatal arrest of George Floyd were fired a day after his death. Many are skeptical about the action as they question will the officer’s actions be considered criminal after an investigation is complete.
 
Locally, Pastor Jamal Bryant, Senior Pastor of New Birth Baptist Church, spoke with Carmen Means, a local Minneapolis pastor and community leader about the case. She shared that demonstrating is step one in the process, and change will come when laws are changed.

In an interview with NBC’s “Today” show, Wednesday morning George Floyd’s sister Bridgett Floyd  says that the officers involved in her brother’s death should be charged with murder because “that’s exactly what they did.”

Accusations of murder are not new in the state of Minnesota. In 2016, Philando Castile, a 32-year-old African-American, was pulled over while driving in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, and killed by Jeronimo Yanez, a Latino 29-year-old St. Anthony, Minnesota police officer. In 2006 it was reported that Derek Chauvin, the same officer seen in the video with his knee on Floyd’s neck, was one of six officers who fired their weapons in the 2006 death of Wayne Reyes. The officers stated that Reyes pointed a sawed-off shotgun at them after stabbing two people. It’s also reported that Chauvin shot and wounded a man in 2008 during a struggle after Chauvin and his partner responded to a reported domestic assault. 

Many are comparing Floyd’s death to the case of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man who died in 2014 in New York after he was placed in a chokehold by police and pleaded for his life, saying he could not breathe. Although many are comparing the cases, a chokehold is considered a deadly force option and involves someone obstructing the airway. According to the Minneapolis Department’s policy handbook, kneeling on a suspect’s neck is regarded as a “non-deadly force option,” and is allowed under the department’s use-of-force policy for officers who have received training in how to compress a neck without applying direct pressure to the airway.

As it stands, Police Chief Arradondo said the department would conduct a full internal investigation, and prosecutors will decide whether to file criminal charges against the officers involved. The FBI is also investigating the case, and the Hennepin County medical examiner said the cause of death was pending.