George Floyd Pleaded “I Cannot Breathe” to Minneapolis Officers, Dies While in Police Custody

Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump has announced he will represent the family of George Floyd, the victim.

Trigger Warning, Police Brutality.

“I cannot breathe! I cannot breathe,” a black man, George Floyd shouted as a Minneapolis police officer pinned his knee in place on his neck. In a video that surfaced on social media Tuesday capturing the incident, Floyd struggles to breathe. Following the disturbing moment, the Minneapolis Police Department later announced he was pronounced dead of a “medical incident,” according to the Washington Post.

Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump identified the unnamed man as George Floyd, per his family. Crump is currently representing Floyd’s family. Prior to this, the Minneapolis Police Department added they’d responded to a report of a forgery in progress.

At the moment, the FBI and state authorities are investigating his death. City officials and advocates are calling for speedy response. Minneapolis City Councilwoman Andrea Jenkins released the following statement to KARE, “Our community continues to be traumatized again, and again and again. We must demand answers.”

Before the physical altercation took place, officers arrived at the 3700 block of Chicago Avenue South at approximately 8 p.m. on Monday. Police said officers then located the man inside his car and they believed he was under the influence. After he got out of the vehicle, police said he “physically resisted officers.”

In a news briefing on Tuesday, a Minneapolis police spokesman shared, “Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and realized that the suspect was suffering a medical distress. Officers called for an ambulance. He was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center where he died a short time later.” Police added no weapons were used during the incident by the man or the officers.

During a press conference earlier this morning Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey addressed Floyd and the officer’s incident. “Being Black in should not be a death sentence,” he said. “When you hear someone calling for help, you’re supposed to help. This officer failed in the most basic, human sense.”

In the Washington Post report, a witness Darnella Frazier saw the incident take place outside of a grocery store. She recorded what she saw in a Facebook video. In a later video, she shared, “When I walked up, he was already on the ground,” she said. “The cops, they was pinning him down by his neck and he was crying. They wasn’t trying to take him serious.”

Numerous people witnessed the moments the officers spent with the Floyd. Frazier also said his face was pressed so hard against the pavement that his nose was bleeding. Those who stood around the officers and Floyd pleaded with them to get off of his neck. 

During one moment a person is heard saying “You’re going to just sit there with your knee on his neck?” Following this Floyd appears to have stopped breathing. Another witness then says, “Bro, he’s not even f—— moving!” 

After these moments, Floyd is then loaded onto a stretcher and into an ambulance while he is unconscious. “The police killed him, bro, right in front of everybody,” Frazier shared on her Facebook video. “He was crying, telling them like, ‘I can’t breathe.’”

Crump has released the statement below on behalf of George Floyd’s family.

The Minneapolis Police Department has since fired four of the officers involved in Floyd’s in-custody incident.

Surveillance video featuring Floyd captured moments before his fatal encounter with Minneapolis police doesn’t show him resisting arrest. Police previously claimed he was resisting. A CBS News report revealed the footage.

The footage also captures Floyd complying with officers as he’s being led from a vehicle. He has his hands behind his back and appears to be ordered to sit on the ground which he does. Police also shared they were responding to a report of a “forgery in progress,” according to the New York Post. You can watch a six-minute clip of the incident over on TMZ.

This story was originally published on May 26, it was updated on May 27. 

Robyn Mowatt

Robyn Mowatt is a Staff Writer at Okayplayer where she covers culture, music, and fashion. You can see what's on her mind on Twitter at @robyn_mowatt.

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Robyn Mowatt

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