The FBI will investigate the death of a black man named George Floyd in Minnesota after a video surfaced showing a white police officer kneeling on his neck for several minutes during an arrest on Monday, the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) announced on Tuesday.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey announced on Tuesday afternoon that four officers involved in the incident had been terminated.
Darnella Frazier, who was part of the crowd gathered at the arrest scene, posted on Facebook a video she recorded showing Floyd pinned on the ground with the officer pressing his left knee down onto Floyd’s neck for several minutes while appearing to keep his left hand on his thigh.
The video shows Floyd’s face being mashed into the pavement to the point that it appears he sustains a nosebleed. He can be heard repeatedly asking the officer to ease up and telling him, “I can’t breathe!”
Another officer is seen standing a few feet away as bystanders plead for his partner to stop.
“He’s not fucking moving,” a man next to Frazier shouts.
The police then call for an ambulance after Floyd appears to pass out under the officer’s knee. The officer continues to kneel on his neck even as a first responder checks his pulse.
“The cops really just killed that man,” Frazier says at the end of the video as the ambulance drives off. “And if he not dead, he’s close to dead.”
“They kept telling us ‘if he can talk he can breathe,'” she wrote in a comment on her video post. “LIKE WTF HE IS TRYING TO TELL YOU HE CANT BREATHE!!”
The MPD claimed in its statement that the police had been dispatched to the location “on a report of a forgery in progress” and that Floyd “physically resisted officers” after he stepped out of his car.
“Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress,” the department said. “Officers called for an ambulance. He was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center by ambulance where he died a short time later.”
Weapons had not been used in the incident, the MPD noted.
The department stated that it had also called on the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension along with the FBI to investigate.
Editor’s note: This post has been updated to reflect that it appears the officer had his hand on his thigh, not in his pocket.