A man who died in police custody after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on the back of his head and neck for several minutes has been identified.
George Floyd, 46, a native Houstonian who was working in Minneapolis as a security guard for a local restaurant died at the scene after police responded to a call of a “forgery in progress.” According to CBS News, “Officers were advised that the suspect was sitting on top of a blue car and appeared to be under the influence. Two officers arrived and located the suspect, a male believed to be in his 40s, in his car. He was ordered to step from his car.”
Video of Floyd’s death has gone viral. He can be seen on the ground near a police SUV, yelling out that he is in pain. “Please, please please I can’t breathe, please man,” he tells the officers. The officer who had his knee on Floyd’s head and neck, identified as Derek Chauvin, told Floyd to relax and asks him, “What do you want?”
Floyd responds, “I can’t breathe. Please, the knee in my neck, I can’t breathe sir.”
The video shows Floyd, handcuffed, motionless with his face on the pavement as bystanders say, “he’s not f*cking moving,” and “did they f*cking kill him?”
All four officers involved in Floyd’s arrest have been fired, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said.
Floyd has been remembered in Houston as a gentle giant. The former Yates football star earned a scholarship to play at Florida State but returned to Houston, hooking up with DJ Screw and the Screwed Up Click. He occasionally jumped on Screw Tapes as Big Floyd. Port Arthur native Stephen Jackson remembered Floyd on social media, referring to him as “twin.”
“This is what I gotta wake up to, huh?” an emotional Jackson posted on Instagram Tuesday. “This is what I gotta wake up to. Floyd was my brother, man. We called each other “Twin,” bruh. Everybody know me and Floyd called each other “Twin.” My brother was only out there in Minnesota, he was changing his life, he went to Minnesota, he was driving trucks. I just sent him two, three boxes of clothes. My boy was doing what he was supposed to do, man, and y’all go kill my brother, man. I’m on my way to Minnesota, man. Whatever I can do, can’t let this ride, dog. Y’all not going to be mad until it hits you front door. Bull—t.”
Attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing the Floyd family, wrote in a statement, “We all watched the horrific death of George Floyd on video as witnesses begged the police officer to take him to 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 nonviolent charge.”
Crump is also representing the families of Ahmaud Arbery and Breona Taylor, two African-Americans recently killed in high-profile incidents.
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo called for a federal probe into the incident after watching the video from a bystander and receiving “additional information” about the incident.
“There was additional information that I had received that quite frankly, from community sources, that just provided more context than I had preliminarily,” he said during a Tuesday morning news conference.
Frey stated that race played a factor in Floyd’s death.
“Being black in America should not be a death sentence,” he said. “For five minutes, we watched a white officer press his knee into a black man’s neck. Five minutes. When year 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.”