Black and Asian Communities Unite in Outrage After Officers Murder Handcuffed George Floyd on Video

Minority communities were left outraged and heartbroken on Monday after a video of Minnesota police officers violently detaining and eventually killing African American man George Floyd went viral.

(Warning: The video below includes graphic and disturbing content.)

 

“I can’t breathe. My stomach hurt, my neck hurt, everything hurts,” Floyd said in the video.

What happened: The incident began around 8 p.m. on Monday when George Floyd was suspected of using counterfeit bills. A report was made at Cup Foods, 3759 Chicago Av., where he matched the profile. The Minneapolis police were responding to the report and noticed him by his car.

  • “[They] ordered him out of the car and took him into custody,” police spokesperson John Elder said.
  • DeVondre Pike, a local, saw the flashing police lights and started recording the aftermath, where Floyd was then pinned in an unauthorized knee-choke, while the officer ignored his pleas for help and that he couldn’t breathe.
  • As a crowd gathered to yell for his release, another officer emerged to order them to the sidewalk.
  • Eventually, Floyd became unconscious and unresponsive.
  • At the end of the video, paramedics come to drag his body onto a gurney and into an awaiting ambulance.
  • Floyd was pronounced dead soon after at Hennepin Healthcare, according to CBS Minnesota.

The aftermath: Since the incident, four officers of the Minneapolis Police Department have been fired and an investigation on a potential civil rights violation is being led by the FBI and Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), which investigates police shootings and in-custody deaths.

  • The identities of all the officers involved have not been officially released, but the officer responsible for kneeling on Floyd’s neck has been identified as Officer Derek Chauvin, a 19-year veteran of the department, according to the Star Tribune.
  • The officer who held the crowd back in the video as Chauvin slowly killed Floyd has been identified as Officer Tou Thao who has been with the department on a regular basis since 2012.
  • Thao and another officer had previously been sued in 2017 for excessive use of force for punching a man in the head for resisting arrest on an outstanding warrant. The case was settled out of court for $25,000, the Star Tribune reports.

Who is taking action: Upon the officers’ firing, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey tweeted support for the decision. In earlier statements, Mayor Frey said that, “that race played a part in the encounter.” 

Being black in America should not be a death sentence. 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.

High-profile Attorney Benjamin Crump, known for representing the families of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and Ahmaud Arbery issued a statement revealing he has been retained by Floyd’s family on Tuesday:

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. This abusive, excessive and inhumane use of force cost the life of a man who was being detained by the police for questioning about a non-violent charge.

We will seek justice for the family of George Floyd, as we demand answers from the Minnesota Police Department. How many ‘white black’ deaths will it take until the racial profiling and undervaluing of black lives by police finally ends?

Restaurateur Jovanni Thunstrom, Floyd’s employer, called his death the “murder of someone that was begging for his life” in a tearful Facebook post.

Asian American response: In solidarity over the racially charged injustice felt by the Black community, outspoken members of the Asian American community took to Twitter to condemn the crimes of the officers and their roles in perpetuating the racism enabled by America’s systematic culture of white supremacy.

 

 

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