In the video of the fatal encounter, bystanders can be heard asking the officer to remove his knee and telling him that Floyd can’t breathe. One person says that Floyd’s nose is bleeding.
“I can’t thank them enough,” Tate said. “We always see these kinds of things that take place and we wonder what would we do if we were placed in that position, and I can only be grateful that there were people there who were advocating for him, even more so grateful for the person who was there with the camera to capture it.”
The Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis issued a statement Tuesday saying:
“Now is not the time rush to judgement and immediately condemn our officers. An in-depth investigation is underway. Our officers are fully cooperating. We must review all video. We must wait for the medical examiner’s report. Officers’ actions and training protocol will be carefully examined after the officers have provided their statements. The Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis will provide full support to the involved officers. We ask that the community remain calm and let the investigation be completed in full.”
The Floyd family’s attorney, Ben Crump, told TMX.news he believes the officer shown in the video with his knee on Floyd’s neck should be charged with murder, and that the other officers should be charged as accomplices to a murder.
“They were supposed to protect and serve citizens like George,” Crump said. “We in black America, we are done dying at the hands of the people who are supposed to protect and serve us.”
Crump said the termination of the four officers is a “good first step.” He compared the death to Eric Garner, who also spoke the words “I can’t breathe” before he died in a police chokehold. But Crump said in his mind, Floyd’s death is “in many ways worse.”
“Because they got their knee on his neck and he’s begging, pleading, not one minute, not two minutes, not three minutes, but eight minutes, begging them to let him breathe,” he said.
Crump said in a statement Tuesday that he will “seek justice” for the family and “demand answers” from police.
The FBI says its investigation will focus on “whether the Minneapolis Police Department officers involved willfully deprived the individual of a right or privilege protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States.” It will forward its findings to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota for possible federal charges.
The BCA will present its findings to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office separately. Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman issued a statement Tuesday saying, “The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office is shocked and saddened by what appeared in a recent video.” He promised a “thorough, expedited review” consistent with his office’s ongoing commitment to justice.
“Every person is entitled to fairness; no person stands above the law,” Freeman said.
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