Protestors want 4 white Minneapolis cops arrested for the death of George Floyd

Minneapolis cops in riot gear have fired rubber bullets at thousands of defiant protestors who took to the streets to demand justice for George Floyd, the black man who died after a white officer was filmed kneeling on his neck during his arrest.

Demonstrators carrying placards reading ‘I can’t breathe’ and ‘Justice 4 Floyd’ surrounded a police precinct Tuesday night after the disturbing video of 46-year-old Floyd begging the cop to stop before falling unconscious was shared online.

Four members of the Minneapolis Police Department who were involved in Monday’s incident have now been fired, and the FBI and state law enforcement authorities have launched an investigation into the man’s death.

The victim’s heartbroken family have called for the cops to be charged with murder and their lawyer revealed white cop Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for a staggering eight minutes during the arrest for forgery. 

The demonstators demanded the arrest of the four officers but were met with rubber bullets and tear gas fired by masked cops as the city’s streets descended into chaos.   

Some had their faces doused in milk to limit the effects of the gas while others ran for cover. 

The peaceful event turned ugly as it continued into the night, with footage showing both police and protesters hurling things at each other. 

Police in riot gear were pictured forming a barrier around the precinct from around 7.30pm as swarms of people marched on the building, reported CBS Local.   

Footage then revealed some protesters sitting on the ground, while officers threw smoke bombs, tear gas and flash grenades into the crowds. 

At one point, a car was seen being struck by a tear gas canister as people ran away. 

Images showed people who had gathered for the rally desperately fleeing as rubber bullets and tear gas rained down on them. 

In one picture, a man was seen holding his hands up in a gesture that started in the ‘Hands up, don’t shoot’ movement in Ferguson in 2014, following the fatal shooting of black 18-year-old Michael Brown by a white police officer.  

Others hid behind shopping carts from the Target store nearby.  

Shawanda Hill, the girlfriend of George Floyd, was pictured at the rally near the spot where her boyfriend died being comforted by other protesters as she choked back tears of grief.  

A reporter for Star Tribune, Andy Mannix, said in a Twitter post that he was shot in the thigh with a rubber bullet while covering the protests, as tensions mounted between law enforcement and the protesters.

The demonstrators hit back at the police too, with some seen throwing bricks and rocks at police vehicles and smashing up the car windows. 

One man was seen launching a large brick onto an empty squad car. 

There have been reports of at least one officer injured in the chaos. 

Hundreds of people began gathering at the intersection of E 38th St and Chicago Avenue in the city during the afternoon, ahead of a planned march of around two miles from the site of Floyd’s arrest to the police precinct.

One woman was seen wearing a face mask with the phrase ‘I can’t breathe’ written across her mouth.

Protesters raised their fists and sported face masks to protect them from the spread of COVID-19 as they gathered for the rally near the spot where Floyd died. 

The clashes between police and protesters came as Floyd’s devastated family broke their silence over his death and said the firing of the four officers involved was just ‘a start’ and that the cops ‘murdered our cousin’. 

Two of Floyd’s cousins spoke of their heartache to, while the family’s lawyer called for white cop Derek Chauvin to be charged with murder and the other three officers involved charged as murder accomplices.    

Shareeduh Tate, one of Floyd’s cousins, told how she watched the horrific footage on TV before realizing it was her ‘baby cousin’.  

‘I actually saw it before knowing it was my cousin – I saw it on Gayle King,’ said Shareeduh Tate.

‘And I remember thinking how devastating this would be for the family who have lost their family member like this… then about five minutes after that I got a phone call saying that it was my cousin.’ 

She thanked the bystanders who were heard in the footage urging the police to stop what they were doing and warning them that they were killing Floyd.

‘I can’t thank them enough. We always see these kinds of things take place and we always wonder what we would do in that position and we’re so grateful… and even more so grateful for the person who was there with a camera to capture it as so many times there is not a witness around and it’s questionable as to what has happened,’ Tate said.

Floyd’s other cousin Tera Brown called the footage ‘unbelievable’.

‘It’s unbelievable to see someone suffering in the way that he did,’ she said. ‘And to have so many people around asking for them to basically allow him to live.’

Tate said the firing of the four police officers was ‘a start’ but is ‘definitely not enough’ as she blasted the authorities for ‘murdering’ the father-of-one.

‘They murdered our cousin,’ she said.

Brown described him as ‘the cousin that everybody loved’ who was ‘always happy’ and a ‘jokester’. 

‘He was everybody’s favorite everything – he was the favorite friend, the favorite cousin,’ she added.  

She said news of his death has been especially hard on Floyd’s daughter who she said is ‘not doing well’. 

Ben Crump, the attorney for the victim’s family has demanded officers face murder charges over the killing and said this is ‘worse than Eric Garner’ because the officers held Floyd down by the neck for a staggering eight minutes. 

Crump pointed to the similarities in the case with the death of unarmed black man Garner who died in 2014 after he was placed in a chokehold by New York City police and pleaded for his life, saying he could not breathe.     

Parallels have already been drawn between the two cases but Crump described Floyd’s death as even ‘worse’.

‘I mean it was 8 minutes. It is in many ways worse than Eric Garner as they have his knees on his neck and he is begging, pleading for not one minute, not two minutes, not three minutes but eight minutes – begging them to let him breathe so we have ‘we can’t breathe’ again in 2020,’ he said.

‘It just takes you back to Eric Garner and now we have another black man saying to police ‘I can’t breathe’ and them not offering any humanity.’

Crump said news that the officers had been fired was a ‘good first step’ but said it does not go far enough to getting justice for the dead man. 

‘I think the officer should be charged with murder,’ Crump told, about Derek Chauvin, who has been identified as the cop who held Floyd down by the neck. 

‘It was clear that he was begged by public bystanders to take his knee off George’s neck.’ 

Crump also called for the other officers involved to be charged as accomplices to murder.  

‘They were supposed to protect and serve citizens like George. We in black America, we are done dying at the hands of the people that are supposed to protect and serve us,’ he said.    

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo announced Tuesday that four officers are now ‘former employees’ of the force.

‘We know there are inherent dangers in the profession of policing but the vast majority of the work we do never require the use of force,’ Arradondo said.

The names of the four fired cops have not been released, however two officers seen in the video were identified by Floyd’s family’s lawyer as Chauvin and Tou Thao.

The two were filmed in a video taken by a bystander on Monday which showed Floyd struggling to breathe on the ground as a white cop kneeled on his neck for several minutes.   

Floyd, who was arrested on suspicion of forgery on Monday night, was heard repeatedly telling officers that he could not breathe as he lay on the ground next to the tire of a squad car. 

‘Please, please, please, I can’t breathe. Please, man,’ Floyd, who is shirtless, begs the  cop. 

The officer repeatedly tells him ‘Well get up and get in the car then,’ while he continues to pin Floyd to the ground.

Floyd responds ‘I will’ but the cop continues to hold him to the ground by his neck.   

‘My stomach hurts, my neck hurts, everything hurts,’ Floyd is heard gasping at one point, before saying he needs water. 

After several minutes, one of the officers tells him to ‘relax.’ 

‘Man, I can’t breathe,’ Floyd responds, before eventually passing out. 

An ambulance then arrives and police officers move the man’s limp body onto a stretcher. 

In the footage, shared by onlooker Darnella Frazier, multiple witnesses were also heard arguing with the two cops over their excessive use of force. 

‘Bro, you’ve got him down at least let him breathe, man,’ a male onlooker says. 

‘He’s not even resisting arrest … he’s human, bro.’ 

One of the officers then replies: ‘This is why you don’t do drugs, kids.’

‘This ain’t about drugs, bro! He’s human,’ the bystander says.

‘You’re enjoying it. Look at you. Your body language, you bum. You know that’s bogus right now,’ he adds.   

As Floyd’s unresponsive body is moved into an ambulance, a male onlooker says: ‘You just really killed that man, bro.’  

‘And if he’s not dead, he’s close to death, that’s crazy,’ Frazier adds.   

‘They killed him right in front of Cup Foods over south on 38th and Chicago!! No type of sympathy. #PoliceBrutality,’ Frazier wrote in a Facebook post. 

Floyd was identified as the victim on Tuesday by Crump, a prominent civil rights and personal injury attorney who is also representing the family of 25-year-old black man Ahmaud Arbery, who was shot and killed by two white men in Georgia earlier this month. 

‘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,’ Crump said in a statement. 

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

The Minneapolis Police Department released a statement Tuesday morning confirming Floyd died in hospital after officers had responded to a ‘forgery in progress.’ 

They did not release details on Floyd’s alleged offense or what he had been doing in the lead up to his attempted arrest. 

According to CBS Local, he was apprehended outside Cup Foods grocery store around 8pm after he allegedly tried to use forged documents at a deli.

Police found the man matching the suspect’s description in his car. 

‘He was ordered to step from his car. After he got out, he physically resisted officers,’ police spokesman John Elder claimed in a statement. 

‘Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress.’

He was taken by ambulance to Hennepin County Medical Center where he died a short time later, police said.  

When asked by reporters about the use of the knee on the man’s neck, Chief Arradondo said the department has ‘policies in place regarding placing someone under control’ that ‘will be part of the full investigation we’ll do internally.’ 

On Tuesday, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension confirmed the FBI has joined in its investigation. 

All body camera footage has been turned over to the BCA, which investigates most police shootings and in-custody deaths. 

The officers involved were initially put on paid administrative leave, per department protocol.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey addressed the incident in a press conference on Tuesday morning, calling events in the video ‘wrong at every level.’ 

‘Being black in America should not be a death sentence,’ he said.

‘For five minutes we watched as a white officer pressed his knee to the neck of a black man. For five minutes. 

‘When you hear someone calling for help, you are supposed to help.

‘This officer failed in the most basic human sense. What happened on Chicago and 38th, this last night, is simply awful.’ 

Frey also apologized to the family of the man as well as the black community. 

‘He was a human being and his life mattered,’ he said.  

Minnesota state Senator Amy Klobuchar released a statement following the mayor’s media briefing, calling for the police officers involved to be held accountable. 

‘We heard his repeated calls for help. We heard him say over and over again that he could not breathe. And now we have a seen yet another horrifying and gutwrenching instance of an African American man dying,’ she said.

‘Every single person in every single community in this country deserves to feel safe. As the Mayor Minneapolis noted, this tragic loss of life calls for immediate action.

‘There must be a complete and thorough outside investigation into what occurred, and those involved in this incident must be held accountable.

‘Justice must be served for this man and his family, justice must be served for our community, and justice must be served for our country.’

Nekima Levy-Armstrong, a prominent local activist, said watching the footage that was shared on social media made her ‘sick to her stomach’ and called the incident another example of police brutality toward African American men, the Star Tribune reported.

‘Whatever the man may have done should not have ended in a death sentence,’ she said. 

‘What started as an alleged economic incident once again turned deadly for a black man.’

Levy-Armstrong said the incident reminded her of the Eric Garner case. 

He was an unarmed New York man who died in 2014 after he was placed in a chokehold by police and pleaded for his life saying he couldn’t breathe. 

A grand jury later decided against indicting the officers involved, sparking protests around the country.

Police in Minneapolis have come under the microscope in recent years for deadly run-ins with citizens. 

A 24-year-old black man, Jamar Clark, was shot in the head and died in 2015 after a confrontation with two white officers responding to a reported assault. 

A county prosecutor declined to prosecute the officers, saying Clark was struggling for one of the officers´ gun when he was shot.

A white woman, Justine Rusczcyk Damond, died in 2017 when she was shot in the stomach by a Minneapolis officer responding to her 911 call. 

That officer, who is black, was convicted of manslaughter and murder and is serving a 12-year prison sentence. 


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