Call for the Arrest of Officers Directly Involved with George Floyd’s Murder
On May 25, 2020, 46-year-old George Floyd suffered a harrowing death in Minneapolis, MN, during an arrest by local police. Four officers, each of whom was directly responsible for ensuring his safety while in their custody, played a role in how the event unfolded:
- Derek Chauvin
- Tou Thao
- Thomas Lane
- J Alexander Kueng
An ongoing investigation seeks to formally reveal what role these officers played in Floyd’s tragic death. But as of May 28, 2020, there is sufficient evidence to at least call for the arrest of all four officers — at least until they can be tried in a court of law.
Officers Chauvin, Thao, Lane, and Kueng initially responded to a call regarding a man suspected of forging a check. This man was presumed to be George Floyd, who allegedly “appeared to be under the influence” while sitting in a nearby vehicle. Officers placed Floyd into handcuffs and immediately accused him of resisting arrest. However, external surveillance footage strongly refutes this claim.
Police led Floyd around to the driver’s side of their cruiser and immediately pinned him down on the ground. Chauvin began to press down on Floyd’s neck with his knee, compressing it into the pavement.
A bystander began recording the event a short time after Floyd was pinned to the ground.
The first few moments of the video are revealing. A minimum of 7 minutes and 52 seconds passes before Chauvin’s knee first presses Floyd’s neck into the ground and the moment at which he removes it to allow medical workers to place him on a stretcher. Floyd repeatedly states that he cannot breathe and is in immense pain. Roughly 4 minutes and 30 seconds into the recording, he appears to cease moving and breathing entirely. Officers spend over three additional minutes virtually ignoring the fact that the man under their control clearly cannot breathe.
During these 7 minutes and 52 seconds bystanders made multiple requests for the officers to check Floyd’s pulse, which were repeatedly ignored. Tou Thao, the only officer not keeping Floyd pinned to the ground, repeatedly kept bystanders away from Floyd and watched over the other officers.
Police spokesperson John Elder clarified that Chauvin’s knee-pinning technique did not qualify as a department-authorized chokehold. “In my years as an officer, that would not be what I would ever consider a chokehold,” he stated.
These officers, who were allegedly trained to safely restrain suspects, should have recognized that Chauvin’s overbearing technique fell well outside of standard procedure. This was clearly an unnecessary use of force. As upholders of the law, they swear an oath to protect and serve. Floyd’s death clearly demonstrates this isn’t happening.
The body camera footage recorded from these four police officers has been handed over to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) for investigation. The FBI also announced on May 28 that it will be investigating this case.
This is not the first time that some of these officers listed above have had police brutality complaints issued against them.
Derek Chauvin in particular has been involved in other police shootings, has multiple complaints of police brutality filed against him, and has not been reprimanded or relieved of his position in spite of years of misconduct. Additionally, Tou Thao had a lawsuit filed against him over his excessive use of force.
Currently, the only response has been to put these officers on paid administrative leave.
As it stands, a trial is currently in its formative stages. Yet, nothing has been done to meaningfully reprimand any of these officers of the law. Paid administrative leave is not a reaction fit for what is clearly murder, regardless of its justification and regardless of whether or not it was intentional or accidental.
Putting aside the current state of investigations, the fact remains that George Floyd was murdered as a direct result of excessive police custody tactics. There is ample evidence to prove it and even still, nothing substantial has been done to the officers involved.
Minneapolis residents have repeatedly faced consistent disenfranchisement, institutional disdain, and police brutality. Watching these four officers essentially escape all repercussions for their involvement in the death of George Floyd leaves many feeling as if they’re talking while the microphone is off. That is the reason why we are now seeing protests spark both within the city and all across the United States.
Arresting and bringing these officers to justice through a fair trial is the only way to make this right and show residents that their valid concerns are finally being heard. It is also the best way to bring these protests to a peaceful end.
Sources (listed in order of use):
Surveillance footage — https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/28/us/video-george-floyd-contradict-resist-trnd/index.html
FBI statement with timestamp — https://youtu.be/gHSC53bJtog?t=6704
Derek Chauvin overview — https://heavy.com/news/2020/05/derek-chauvin/
Derek Chauvin complaints — http://complaints.cuapb.org/police_archive/officer/2377/
*Chauvin has since been arrested, however we are asking that he be charged with First Degree Murder, instead of the current charges of Third Degree Manslaughter*