George Floyd’s Death Sparks Protests In Minneapolis, As Family Demands Murder Charges Be Brought Against Officers
Hundreds took to the streets of Minneapolis Wednesday night to protest the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed after a police officer held him to the ground with his knee on Floyd’s neck.
The four officers involved in Floyd’s death, Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kuengwere, have all been fired from the department Tuesday, but have not been charged yet.
Chauvin’s attorney confirmed that his client is the officer pictured in the video with his knee to Floyd’s neck, but did not release a statement on his client’s behalf.
The demonstrations were initially peaceful but turned “extremely dangerous,” Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said.
“The situation near Lake Street and Hiawatha in Minneapolis has evolved into an extremely dangerous situation,” Walz tweeted. “For everyone’s safety, please leave the area and allow firefighters and paramedics to get to the scene.”
The situation near Lake Street and Hiawatha in Minneapolis has evolved into an extremely dangerous situation. For everyone's safety, please leave the area and allow firefighters and paramedics to get to the scene.
— Governor Tim Walz (@GovTimWalz) May 28, 2020
Authorities fired tear gas at protesting smashing a police precinct’s windows, while across the street an AutoZone store had caught on fire. Other demonstrators looted surrounding stores.
Benjamin Crump, an attorney for Floyd’s family, said in a statement Wednesday that the Floyd family is calling for peaceful protesting and social distancing.
“We cannot sink to the level of our oppressors, and we must not endanger others during this pandemic,” the statement reads. “We will demand and ultimately force lasting change by shining a light on treatment that is horrific and unacceptable and by winning justice.”
Floyd’s family wants the four officers to be charged with murder.
“They were supposed to be there to serve and to protect and I didn’t see a single one of them lift a finger to do anything to help while he was begging for his life. Not one of them tried to do anything to help him,” Floyd’s cousin, Tera Brown, told CNN on Tuesday.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey similarly called for charges to be brought against the officer who pinned Floyd to the ground with his knee.
“What I can say with certainty, based on what I saw, is that … the officer who had his knee on the neck of George Floyd should be charged,” Frey said Wednesday.
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said Wednesday that the actions of the former police officers “in no way reflect the values, and the vision and the culture” of the department.
A cell phone video captured the incident Monday evening when officers responded to a call about an alleged forgery in progress.
Police said Floyd “physically resisted” after he got out of the vehicle.
Video shows Chauvin pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck after he was handcuffed.
“Please, I can’t breathe,” Floyd said. “… My stomach hurts. My neck hurts. Everything hurts.”
He later said, “Give me some water or something. Please. Please.”