Four officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota were fired after a African-American man they arrested died in hospital on Monday. A visibly emotional mayor, Jacob Frey, announced their firing after video footage surfaced which showed a police officer sitting with his knee on the neck of the man, George Floyd, for minutes on end.
The man can be heard shouting that he is unable to breathe and bystanders can be heard urging the police officer to take his knee off the man’s neck, which the former refuses to do. Mr Floyd died on the street of his wounds and was officially declared dead in hospital later.
In return, protesters have gathered in the city. Given their clear anger, the situation could spill out of control.
The officers were notified on Monday evening that someone was suspected of forgery and found Floyd in his car. The suspect got out and there was a brief struggle with the police. When they handcuffed him, he turned out to be in medical distress.
An ambulance took him to the hospital where he was declared dead a short time later, police said.
Video now released however, show the man being held back for minutes by a cop planting his knee in Floyd’s neck. Even when bystanders urge the officer to stop, shouting that the suspect has become unconscious and bleeds from his nose, the officer keeps his knee planted on the man. “He doesn’t even resist. At least let him breathe. He is also human. Your body language betrays that you are enjoying this too much,” bystanders can be heard shouting
The FBI is now investigating the man’s death.
Thousands of protesters
In response, thousands of protesters gathered in Minneapolis. In order to remember Floyd’s death, they held a vigil and marched in the city.
Clashes with the police occurred around 8 p.m. local time. According to local media, agents deployed tear gas and fired rubber bullets.
Democrat Representative Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) denounced the police’s actions against unarmed protesters.
“Shooting rubber bullets and tear gas at unarmed protesters when there are children present should never be tolerated,” she said on Twitter. “Ever.”