What We Know About the Death of George Floyd
MINNEAPOLIS, USA - MAY 27: The memorial for George Floyd is seen on Wednesday, May 27, 2020 during the second day of protests over his death in Minneapolis.Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis on Monday night, after an officer held his knee into Floyd's neck for more than 5 minutes.(Photo by Steel Brooks/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
美国明尼阿波利斯-5月27日：乔治·弗洛伊德(George Floyd)的纪念碑于2020年5月27日星期三在明尼阿波利斯举行的抗议活动的第二天举行。周一晚上，弗洛伊德在明尼阿波利斯警方拘留期间死亡，此前一名警官将膝盖按在弗洛伊德的脖子上超过5分钟。(斯蒂尔·布鲁克斯/阿纳多卢通讯社通过Getty Images摄)
George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man, died on Monday after being handcuffed and pinned to the ground by a police officer’s knee, in an incident that was recorded on video and that incited large protests in Minneapolis.
The explosive footage, recorded by a bystander and shared widely on social media early Tuesday, led to community outrage, an FBI civil rights investigation and the firing of the officer and three colleagues who were also at the scene.
On Wednesday, the Minneapolis Police Department identified the fired officers as Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng.
周三，明尼阿波利斯警察局确认被解雇的警官是德里克·肖文(Derek Chauvin)、托马斯·莱恩(Thomas Lane)、窦涛(Tou Thao)和J·亚历山大·孔(J.Alexander Kueng)。
Floyd’s relatives have said that the officers should be charged with murder.“They treated him worse than they treat animals,” Philonise Floyd, Floyd’s brother, said on CNN.“They took a life — they deserve life.”
Mayor Jacob Frey of Minneapolis was quick to condemn the officers’ actions, and on Wednesday, he called on prosecutors to file charges against the officer who had his knee on Floyd’s neck.
“I want to see a charge take place,” Frey said at a news conference, without specifying what charge he thought was warranted.“I want to see justice for George Floyd.”
Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Democrat whose congressional district includes Minneapolis, tweeted on Wednesday that the officer should be charged with murder.
Floyd lived in St. Louis Park, a Minneapolis suburb.He was pronounced dead at 9:25 p.m.Monday at Hennepin County Medical Center, according to the medical examiner.
He grew up in Houston, in a black neighborhood south of downtown known as the 3rd Ward.He was raised in a house with his siblings and two cousins, Shareeduh Tate and Tera Brown.Their mothers were sisters, Tate said.
A reporter for a Houston television station posted a video clip on Twitter of Floyd scoring a touchdown at a high school football game nearly 30 years ago.He was a tight end for the Jack Yates High School team, and the clip shows Floyd leaping to catch a pass in the end zone during a 1992 game at Delmar Stadium in Houston.
Floyd graduated from Yates High in 1993, the Houston school district confirmed on Wednesday.
Cyril N. White, 45, said he knew Floyd when they were both star high school athletes playing basketball.Both received scholarships to play in college, with Floyd going to a community college in Florida, White said.
After college, Floyd was one of the first players recruited by White when he set up a club team to play exhibition matches against college teams around Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana, and later in China, although by that time Floyd had left the team.
Floyd, known as “Big Floyd” to his teammates, given his 6-foot-7-inch height and hefty build, played power forward.He never got into a fight or received so much as a technical foul, White recalled.
“Gentle giant, gentle giant,” he said.“He was a natural comedian, a life-of-the-party type guy, real easy going.”
The club team, To God Be The Glory Sports, was not a church group, but members prayed together, and Floyd participated, White said.Floyd left after two years, saying he needed to work to take care of his new daughter.
White lamented how his friend had died.“They dehumanized him and treated him like a piece of garbage that was expendable.That is the worst.”
Tate said her cousin moved to Minneapolis four or five years ago, and Brown said he talked about the city as a welcoming place.
“He was happy there.He had made friends and had talked about training to become a truck driver,” said Brown, 48, an accounting manager.“He came home for his mother’s funeral two years ago, and he told me he had decided to stay.”
Jovanni Thunstrom, the owner of Conga Latin Bistro in Minneapolis, said he employed Floyd as a bouncer at the restaurant and was also his landlord.
“No one had nothing bad to say about him,” Thunstrom said.“They all are shocked he’s dead.He never caused a fight or was rude to people.”
Thunstrom said Floyd paid his rent last week and told him that he was looking for a new job because Conga Latin Bistro has been closed to on-site dining since March because of the coronavirus.“I lost a friend,” Thunstrom said.
White, his former teammate, said that after Floyd moved to Minneapolis, they would talk on the phone a few times a year, catching up on each other’s news and talking about old friends.
Their last contact was a couple months before the coronavirus outbreak, White said.“He was all smiles.He did not give any signs about any problems at all.”
The arrest of Floyd took place on Monday evening.The Minneapolis Police Department said in a statement that officers had responded to a call about a man suspected of forgery.Police said the man was found sitting on top of a blue car and “appeared to be under the influence.”
“He was ordered to step from his car,” the department’s statement said.“After he got out, he physically resisted officers.Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress.”
The statement said that officers had called for an ambulance.
On Tuesday morning, without referring to the video recorded by a bystander, the police updated a statement, titled “Man Dies After Medical Incident During Police Interaction,” saying that additional information had “been made available” and that the FBI was joining the investigation.
The bystander video shows a white Minneapolis police officer pressing his knee into a black man’s neck during an arrest, as the man repeatedly says, “I can’t breathe,” and, “Please, I can’t breathe.”
The video recorded in Minneapolis on Monday shows that after a few minutes, the man, lying face down in the street with his hands cuffed behind his back, becomes silent and motionless; the officer continues to pin the man to the pavement with his knee.
Bystanders plead and curse, begging the officer to stop and telling him the man’s nose is bleeding.Another officer faces the people gathered on the sidewalk.An ambulance medic arrives and, reaching under the officer’s knee, feels for a pulse on the man’s neck.
The medic turns away, and a stretcher is wheeled over.The arrested man is then rolled onto the stretcher, loaded into an ambulance and taken away.
The video did not show what had happened before the officer pinned the man to the ground by his neck.
Frey, the Minneapolis mayor, said Tuesday that he did not know how the initial police statement, describing a “medical incident,” had come to be written, but he said he wanted to be “absolutely as transparent as possible.”
“It’s the kind of thing where you don’t hide from the truth, you lean into it, because our city is going to be better off for it, no matter how ugly, awful it is,” he said.“If it points out the institutional racism that we are still working through right now, well, good — it means that we’ve got a lot of work to go.”
On Tuesday afternoon, Frey tweeted that four officers involved in the case had been terminated.“This is the right call,” he said.
The Police Department’s statement said that no weapons had been used and that the officers’ body cameras were recording.Frey said at a news conference Tuesday that he had seen the video “taken and posted by a civilian” but not the body camera footage.
He said he had asked the FBI to investigate, and in a statement posted to Twitter said, “Being black in America should not be a death sentence.For five minutes, we watched a white officer press his knee into a black man’s neck.Five minutes.”
The FBI is conducting a federal civil rights investigation, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said in a statement.The state bureau also said that it was conducting its own investigation at the request of the police department and that it would release its findings to the Hennepin County district attorney’s office.
The Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday, but the head of the union said in a statement to the local news media that people should not rush to judgment while the investigation is ongoing.
“Our officers are fully cooperating,” the union head, Lt. Bob Kroll, said.“We must review all video.We must wait for the medical examiner’s report.”
Thomas M. Kelly, a lawyer representing Chauvin in the investigation, said he had not heard the mayor’s remarks on Wednesday calling for the arresting officer in the case to be charged.
“I have no comment,” Kelly said, adding that there had been no legal developments in the case at this point.
Ben Crump, a civil rights lawyer representing Floyd’s family members, said they want to see murder charges filed against the police officers.
“The plan is to make sure these officers are charged with the murder of George Floyd,” Crump said.“When you really think about it, it was nine minutes that he begged for his life while this officer had his knee in his throat, had his knee in his neck.”
Tate, Floyd’s cousin in Houston, agreed that the officers should face serious consequences.
“I would like to see the officers charged with murder and convicted,” she said.“I would not be happy with anything less.In my mind, they executed him.”
In Houston, friends and relatives gathered on Tuesday to remember Floyd in Emancipation Park, a site that was originally purchased by former slaves in the late 1800s.The 3rd Ward, where he grew up, has been a hub of social activism in Houston for decades.
Tate said she saw the video from Minneapolis on Tuesday morning, but didn’t realize the man in the street was the cousin she grew up with.
“I remember thinking how horrible this was, that a family’s loved one was murdered in the streets.Maybe five minutes later I got the call confirming my cousin was on that video,” said Tate, 49, a registered nurse
“I went back and looked.The first time, it didn’t have audio.The second time, the audio was on.I heard the first, ‘I can’t breathe,’ and I knew it was him.”
Hundreds of people gathered on Tuesday at the intersection where Floyd had been subdued, protesting the conduct of the officers.
The local news media reported that two people had been shot near the protest, but a police department spokesman, John Elder, said one person had been shot “away” from the protest and described the person’s injuries as not life-threatening.It was not immediately clear who did the shooting, he said.
Some protesters vandalized police vehicles with graffiti and targeted the precinct house where the four officers had been assigned, Elder said.
The police fired foam projectiles, known as marking rounds, and used tear gas to try to repel some of the protesters, he said.The Police Department did not immediately say if there had been any arrests.
Jamar B. Nelson, 41, a longtime community activist, said he and others had been calling for calm after the clashes.
“Our community is hurt and angry, but we can’t have the violence, because we are the ones who will ultimately be harmed,” said Nelson, who works for an organization that helps families of crime victims.“What you are seeing is a frustration with all these interactions between black males and the police that don’t end well.”
Nelson described the relationship between the police and the city’s black community as fractured.
“The truth is, we do not have a good history,” he said, describing the Police Department as “racist, bigoted and uncaring about the black community.”But he said the current police chief, Medaria Arradondo, had been trying to repair the relationship.
“Him firing the four officers expeditiously is a big deal,” Nelson said.
As the video spread on social media on Monday night, the arrest quickly drew comparisons to the case of Eric Garner, a black man who died in New York police custody in 2014 after an officer held him in a chokehold.Garner’s repeated plea of “I can’t breathe” — also recorded by a cellphone — became a rallying cry at demonstrations against police misconduct around the country.
随着这段视频周一晚间在社交媒体上传播，这次逮捕很快就让人将其与埃里克·加纳(Eric Garner)的案件相提并论。2014年，一名警察用喉咙勒住了黑人男子埃里克·加纳(Eric Garner)，他在纽约警方拘留期间死亡。加纳反复的“我不能呼吸”的恳求-也是用手机记录下来的-成为了全国各地反对警察不当行为的示威活动的战斗口号。
Similar high-profile cases have generated large protests and given rise to a national debate over police conduct toward black people, as happened in 2016 after an African-American man, Philando Castile, was shot dead by a police officer during a traffic stop in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.The officer, Jeronimo Yanez, was later acquitted of second-degree manslaughter and of endangering safety by discharging a firearm in the shooting.
类似的备受瞩目的案件也引发了大规模抗议，并引发了一场关于警察对黑人行为的全国性辩论，2016年，非洲裔男子菲兰多·卡斯蒂尔(Philando Castile)在明尼苏达州圣保罗郊区的一次交通拦截中被一名警察开枪打死。这位名叫杰罗尼莫·亚尼斯(Jeronimo Yanez)的警官后来被判二级过失杀人罪和在枪击事件中开枪危害安全的罪名不成立。
Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, condemned the force used by the officers in Minneapolis.
“George Floyd deserved better and his family deserves justice,” Biden tweeted on Tuesday night.“His life mattered.”
On Wednesday morning, Biden made the comparison between the Floyd and Garner cases during a video livestream, and said the deaths were “part of an ingrained, systematic cycle of injustice that still exists in this country.”
Asked about the incident on Wednesday, President Donald Trump called it “a very very sad event,” and later tweeted that he has asked for the FBI investigation to be expedited, adding, “My heart goes out to George’s family and friends.Justice will be served!”
Tim Walz, the governor of Minnesota, called the Floyd episode “sickening.”
“We will get answers and seek justice,” he said.
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