By Frederick H. Lowe
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey announced Tuesday that four police officers involved in the deadly arrest of George Floyd have been fired.
Mayor Frey, who viewed the videos showing one officer pressing his knee with his body weight onto Floyd’s neck as three other cops stood around and did nothing, said what happened was ‘messed up’ and that being black in America should not be a death sentence.’
“When you hear someone calling for help, you’re supposed to help. This officer failed in the most basic, human sense,” Frey posted on his Facebook page.
The FBI and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension are investigating the police murder of Floyd, who screamed that he could not breathe. Those were the last words Eric Garner uttered in pain before he died from an illegal chokehold administered in 2014 by Daniel Pantaleo, a New York City cop.
Derek Chauvin, a Minneapolis cop, pressed his knee to the back of Floyd’s neck, killing him. Floyd was 46 years old.
Onlookers recorded the incident while urging Chauvin to get off of Floyd, who had been identified by Civil Rights attorney Benjamin Crump. Crump has been retained by Floyd’s family. Police killed Floyd for a non-violent crime, Crump said.
“Please, please, please I can’t breathe,” Floyd pleads. “My stomach hurts, my neck hurts. Please, please. I can’t breathe.”
“He was trying to tell them he couldn’t breathe and they ignored him,” said Darnella Frazier, one of many people who filmed the incident. Chauvin did not budge.
Floyd was silent, but Chauvin continued to press down on his neck, although Floyd is unresponsive for a total of eight minutes when paramedics arrived to place him on a stretcher and lift him into an ambulance.
Minneapolis police responded to a report of a forgery in progress. Floyd was sitting in his car. He got out his car, and police claimed he physically resisted the officers who handcuffed him, justifying their use of force. Police called an ambulance that transported him to Hennepin County Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
The videotape of Floyd’s murder immediately sparked angry demands for justice similar to the video of Ahmaud Arbery being shot to death by Travis McMichael, 34. Gregory McMichael, 64, Travis’ father, watched from the bed of their white pickup truck the two men used to follow Arbery before cutting him off as he jogged along the street.
William “Roddie” Bryan Jr. filmed the murder. All three men have been charged with Arbery’s murder, which occurred on February 23.
Mayor Frey said Floyd should never have died, and Sen. Amy Klobucher (D., Minnesota), called for immediate action after viewing the tape.
The cops were placed on paid leave before being fired. It is not known if they have been charged with a crime. Floyd’s relatives, however, demanded that the cops be charged with murder.
Onlookers photographed the cops’ badges, identifying Chauvin and his partner, Tou Thao. Police did not name the two other officers. Mayor Frey has called for Chauvin to be charged. Hundreds of residents took to the streets of Minneapolis to voice their anger about Floyd’s murder.
Six years ago, Eric Garner screamed he could not breathe before he died in a deadly chokehold administered by Daniel Pantaleo who arrested Garner for selling loose cigarettes. The NYPD eventually fired Pantaleo nearly five years after Garner’s murder. Pantaleo had been assigned to desk duty.
The “Minneapolis 4,” were fired within 24 hours.