Four Minneapolis police officers have been fired for their involvement in the death of a black man who was held down with a knee as he protested that he couldn’t breathe, officials said Tuesday.
The FBI is investigating the incident, which drew widespread condemnation of the officers after a video showing part of the encounter circulated on social media.
The death of George Floyd, 46, drew hundreds of people to the streets of Minneapolis on Tuesday.
Earlier Tuesday, Mayor Jacob Frey said what happened was “wrong at every level.”
“This does not reflect the values that Chief Arradondo has worked tirelessly to instill. It does not represent the training we’ve invested in or the measures we’ve taken to ensure accountability. Being black in America should not be a death sentence,” Frey said.
In the video, Floyd is seen moaning and struggling, as bystanders urge officers to place him in the police car. “Please,” Floyd pleads. “I can’t breathe,” he continues to moan. An officer keeps insisting he get in the car, while the man repeatedly says he can’t.
“My stomach hurts. My neck hurts. Everything hurts. … (I need) water or something. Please. Please. I can’t breathe, officer. I cannot breathe. I cannot breathe.”
A bystander later said it appeared Floyd wasn’t moving.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz tweeted Tuesday, “The lack of humanity in this disturbing video is sickening. We will get answers and seek justice.”
St. Paul, Minnesota, Mayor Melvin Carter called the video of the incident “one of the most vile and heartbreaking images I’ve ever seen.”
“The officer who stood guard is just as responsible as his partner; both must be held fully accountable,” Carter tweeted. “This must stop now.”
“Even in places like Minneapolis, where chokeholds are technically banned, Black people are targeted by the police for low-level offenses and are subjected to unreasonable, unnecessary violence,” Fernandez said in a statement. “Make no mistake: George Floyd should be alive today. The officers responsible must be held accountable.”
Body worn cameras were activated during the incident, police said.