Surveillance cameras as well as video clips circulating on social media have provided footage of a cold-blooded killing that has shocked the world. The footage show the 46 years old man cooperating with police officers, being handcuffed and led to the sidewalk where he was made to sit and answer questions.
But minutes later, he was led to the police car but was seen sprawled on the ground while a white police officers knelt on his neck. George Floyd can be heard in the video say, “Please, I can’t breathe”.
Bystanders can be heard saying that Floyd seemed to be bleeding from his noise. Somebody else pleads with the policemen, “you have got him down, let him breathe at least”. But the police officer kept kneeling on the neck till Floyd lost consciousness or died and lay motionless on the ground. He was then put on a stretcher and taken to a hospital in Minneapolis, where he was declared ‘brought dead’.
The video footage on social media triggered widespread protests and rioting with people damaging police vehicles and police stations. People with placards reading, “Let me breathe”and ‘I can’t breathe” poured into the streets, demanding justice for the dead man. A petition demanding severe punishment for the police officers on Change.org had received 230,000 endorsements till Thursday morning even as US President Donald Trump tweeted that the FBI was investigating the death.
“On the evening of May 25, George Floyd was slowly and mercilessly killed by four Minneapolis police officers while being video taped by concerned citizens begging them to stop,” reads the petition.
The police officer who knelt on the deceased’s neck was later identified as Derek Chauvin. All four police officers were fired but demand for their prosecution for murder and as accessories to murder is growing.
The footage now available in the public domain, reported CBS, clearly show that the force used was excessive and unwarranted. What provoked the police officer is still not clear.
What has been confirmed, however, is that the police had been called to apprehend a man who was allegedly trying to use a counterfeit currency note of $20. When police arrived, they found Floyd sitting on the driver’s seat in a car resembled the suspect and proceeded to force him out of the car, walk him to the sidewalk and handcuff him. He cooperated and can be seen talking to the police officers.
This is not the first time black men have been killed by white policemen in the United States. Racist violence has spiked in recent years and black and brown men have invariably been targets of prejudice.