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The Tragedy of George Floyd: Ray Of Hope

Zuri Redmond

As if the pandemic wasn’t enough, racial tension is at an all time high after former police officer Derek Chauvin, assisted  by 3 other former officers, murdered 46 year old George Floyd. Infuriated residents of Minneapolis began to violently riot, burning down stores, schools and the police station. A sigh of relief comes today however as Chauvin has been arrested as  Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced he has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. In a statement from Freeman addressing the public he states, “This is by far the fastest that we’ve ever charged a police officer”

 

 

 

Why did they even arrest George Floyd?

 

In a criminal complaint released this afternoon (May 29,2020) explains exactly why George Floyd was arrested.

 

The Complaint States:

“Officers were dispatched to Cup Foods on the report of a man buying merchandise with a counterfeit $20 bill. Shortly after 8 p.m., Officers Thomas Lane and J Alexander Kueng arrived with their body cameras activate and recording.”

 

Once on the scene the officers learned from store workers that this man was George Floyd and found that he was parked in a car around the corner. The footage from the body camera that was released on Thursday May 28th, 2020 shows the officers approaching the car. The camera shows Lane speaking with Floyd, pulling out his gun, and pointing the gun at Floyd as he orders him to show his hands. The footage also clearly shows Floyd putting his hands on the steering wheel and complying with Lane during the entirety of the verbal exchange.

The complaint says Lane spoke with Floyd for under two minutes, asking Floyd for his identification and name. It also says that he asked Floyd if he was “on anything” and told Floyd he was going to be arrested for passing counterfeit currency.

When Lane and Keung attempted to take him to their squad car, the report states that Floyd “stiffened up, fell to the ground and told the officers he was claustrophobic,”

It is around this time that former officers Chauvin and Tou Thao arrived on the scene in a separate squad car.

The officers made several attempts to get Floyd in the backseat of the cop vehicle from the driver’s side but failed due to Floyd continuously falling to the ground. The complaint says Floyd says that Floyd began saying and repeating he couldn’t breathe due to being claustrophobic. It is important to keep in mind that this entire exchange happens while standing outside the car before Floyd falls to the ground and is strangled. 

 

The report continues on to say that Chauvin then went to the passenger side and pulled Floyd out of the passenger side of the car at 8:19 p.m. and Floyd went to the ground face down while still handcuffed.

 

The report states “Keung and Lane held Floyd’s back and legs, Chauvin placed his left knee in the area of Mr. Floyd’s head and neck.” 

 

From the report and many videos posted to social media Floyd could be heard repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe”, as well as “please.” The officers, however, stayed in their positions.

 

The complaint states that officer Chauvin told Floyd, “You are talking fine”, as he continued to struggle. After about 3 minutes of Floyd crying out that he couldn’t breathe, the complaint says that Lane asked “should we roll him on his side?” To which Chauvin responded, “No, lets stay put where we got him,”

 

At 8:24 p.m., Floyd stopped moving. Kueng then checked Floyd’s right wrist for a pulse and said “I couldn’t find one.” And still, the  officers continued to hold their positions, according to the complaint.

 

At 8:27 p.m., Chauvin removed his knee from Floyd’s neck as medics arrived. Floyd was taken away in the ambulance. He was pronounced dead at Hennepin Healthcare.

An autopsy report is pending, but the Hennepin County Medical Examiner did release the fact that Floyd had underlying health problems, including coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease.

 

The complaint determined that Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds total. Two minutes and 53 seconds of that unresponsivetime was after Floyd became .

 

If convicted, Chauvin could face up to 25 years in prison on the murder charge and up to 10 years in prison on the manslaughter charge.

 

Click here for a link to the complaint (.PDF).