Four police officers have been fired following the death of an unarmed black man who was taken into custody in Minneapolis, officials said Tuesday.
The death of the man identified by a family attorney as George Floyd has drawn outrage after video showed an officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck as he cried out that he couldn’t breathe. Floyd had been arrested Monday outside a deli on suspicion of forgery. He died later at a hospital.
Police Chief Medaria Arradondo did not identify the former officers but called them “former employees” with the department, CBS Minnesota reported.
Earlier Tuesday, Mayor Jacob Frey said what happened was “wrong at every level.”
“This does not reflect the values that Chief Arradondo has worked tirelessly to instill. It does not represent the training we’ve invested in or the measures we’ve taken to ensure accountability. Being black in America should not be a death sentence,” Frey said.
In the video, Floyd is seen moaning and struggling, as bystanders urge officers to place him in the police car. “Please,” Floyd pleads. “I can’t breathe,” he continues to moan. An officer keeps insisting he get in the car, while the man repeatedly says he can’t.
“My stomach hurts. My neck hurts. Everything hurts. … (I need) water or something. Please. Please. I can’t breathe, officer. I cannot breathe. I cannot breathe.”
A bystander later said it appeared Floyd wasn’t moving.
The attorney representing Floyd’s family, Benjamin Crump, had earlier in the day called for the officers to be fired. Crump called on the Hennepin County Attorney, Michael Freeman, to charge the officers with murder.
“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,” Crump said in a statement. “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.”
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