A black man who was heard on video shot by a bystander yelling “I can’t breathe” as a Minneapolis police officer pinned him to the ground and put his knee on the man’s neck for about eight minutes died Monday night, prompting the FBI and Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to take over the case and launch an investigation.
Cell phone video of the incident shows that a white police officer had the man pinned to the ground next to the back tire of his patrol car with his knee on the man’s neck.
“Please, please, please I can’t breathe,” the man begs. “My stomach hurts. My neck hurts. Please, please. I can’t breathe.”
A group of onlookers outside the Minneapolis deli can be heard urging the officer to get off the man.
“You’re stopping his breathing right now, you think that’s cool?” one man says. “His nose is bleeding, look at his nose!” says a woman.
The officer ignored their pleas.
And then the man goes silent.
More bystanders could be heard calling for the officer or his partner to check for a pulse.
The officer remains on the man’s neck, even as he lay apparently unresponsive, for a total of about eight minutes before paramedics arrive and the man is placed on a stretcher, reports NBC News.
“The man looked already dead before the ambulance even got there. He was clearly trying to tell them he couldn’t breathe and they ignored him,” Darnella Frazier, one of the people who filmed the incident, told the news outlet.
A statement from the Minneapolis Police Department released early Tuesday said the officers had responded to a report of a forgery in progress and found the suspect in his car. He stepped out of the car when he was ordered to, police said, but then physically resisted officers.
“Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress,” the statement said. “Officers called for an ambulance. He was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center by ambulance where he died a short time later.”
The department announced the FBI would be investigating the incident.
“We put out the information that we believed to be wholly honest and true. As we dug into it deeper, we realized that in fact it would be appropriate to have the FBI be apart of this investigation as well,” said the department’s director of public information, John Elder.
Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said during a news conference Tuesday morning, “There was additional information that I had received, quite frankly, from a community source that just provided more context than what I had preliminarily, originally.”
This prompted him to get the FBI involved “knowing that there could be a question of civil rights.”
BREAKING: A video shows a Minneapolis police officer pinning down a black man by the neck with his knee for several minutes as the man screams: "I can't breathe."pic.twitter.com/V9K3IU36ap
— Mukhtar M. Ibrahim (@mukhtaryare) May 26, 2020
“Being black in America should not be a death sentence,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said on Tuesday.
“For the better part of the night, I’ve been trying to find the words to describe what happened,” Frey said. “All I keep coming back to is this: this man should not have died.
“What we saw is horrible. Completely and utterly messed up. The man’s life matters, he matters. He was someone’s son. Someone’s family member. Someone’s friend.”
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey on video of George Floyd being killed by a cop: "What I saw was wrong at every level … being black in America should not be a death sentence." pic.twitter.com/H1eHQi5mLH
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 26, 2020