Cities across the United States have seen protests, violence and looting during the past six days after viral videos showed a police officer driving his knee into the neck of a man prone on a sidewalk there on Memorial Day.
The death of George Floyd has sparked riots in major cities throughout the country and has led to the arrest of Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin on charges of third-degree murder.
What led to the confrontation between Floyd and police who ended in Floyd’s life?
According to the criminal complaint filed against Chauvin by prosecutors in Minnesota, here is what happened last Monday:
At 8:01 p.m. Central Standard Time on May 25, police received a call from an employee of Cup Foods on Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis. The employee said a man had paid for some merchandise with what the clerk believed was a counterfeit $20 bill.
In a transcript of the 911 call, the Cup Foods employee told the operator that after accepting the bill, he realized it was a fake and he told Floyd to give back a pack of cigarettes he had purchased with the counterfeit $20. The store employee told the 911 operator that Floyd “doesn’t want to do that,” according to the transcript.
“He is awfully drunk and he’s not in control of himself,” the caller told the operator.
At 8:08 p.m., Minneapolis Police Department officers Thomas Lane and J.A. Kueng arrived at the store, questioned the employee and were told that the person who passed the counterfeit money was sitting in a parked car around the corner from the store.
Lane and Kueng left the store and walked toward the car the employee had pointed out to them. The officers’ body cameras recorded what happened as Lane approached the car on the driver’s side while Kueng moved toward it on the passenger side.
There were three people in the vehicle: Floyd in the driver’s seat, a man in the passenger seat and a woman in the backseat.
As Lane came upon the vehicle and began to speak to Floyd, he drew his weapon and pointed it toward the open window of the driver’s seat. He ordered Floyd to show him his hands. Floyd placed his hands on the steering wheel of the car, and Lane put his gun back into its holster.
Kueng was speaking to the man in the passenger seat when Lane first ordered Floyd out of the car, then reached in and pulled Floyd from the car, according to the video footage.
Floyd “actively resisted” being handcuffed after Lane pulled him from the car, the report states.
However, once he was handcuffed, Floyd “became compliant,” according to the complaint, and walked with Lane to the sidewalk, sitting down there when Lane told him to.
Lane spoke to Floyd for about two minutes, asking him his name and address and then asking whether he was “on anything.” He told Floyd he was under arrest for passing counterfeit bills.
Lane and Kueng then stood Floyd up from his seated position on the sidewalk and began to walk him toward their squad car. At 8:14 p.m., Floyd stiffened, fell to the ground and refused to get up to get into the squad car, saying he was claustrophobic.
As Floyd was on the ground, MPD officers Derek Chauvin and Tou Thoa arrived at the scene.
All four officers then attempted to get Floyd into the backseat of Lane’s squad car on the driver’s side of the vehicle. Floyd, according to the complaint, struggled with the officers and intentionally fell down saying he was not going into the car.
The complaint then notes that Floyd, as he is standing outside of the patrol car refusing to get in, says he cannot breathe.
Chauvin then moved to the passenger side of the car and tried to get Floyd into that side of the car with the help of Lane and Kueng. When they could not get him into the car, Chauvin pulled Floyd out of the vehicle at 8:19 p.m. Floyd went face down to the ground as he was pulled from the car.
While on the ground, Kueng held Floyd’s back while Lane held his legs. Chauvin then put his left knee on Floyd’s neck and head. He kept it there for the next eight minutes and 46 seconds,
“I can’t breathe,” Floyd said several times. He called for his mother, the complaint reads, and pleaded for Chauvin to remove his knee.
Neither Chauvin, Lane or Kueng move as Floyd told them numerous times he is unable to breathe.
“You are talking fine,” one of the officers tells Floyd.
As Floyd moves on the ground, Lane asks, “should we roll him on his side?”
Chauvin answers, “No, staying put where we got him.”
Lane persists, saying, “I am worried about excited delirium or whatever.” Chauvin answers, “That’s why we have him on his stomach.”
Floyd continues to move as he is on the ground and appears to be breathing.
At 8:24 p.m., the complaint notes, Floyd stopped moving. A minute later, the body camera video appears to show Floyd stopped breathing.
Lane then asks, “want to roll him on his side?”
Kueng reaches for Floyd’s right wrist to check for a pulse. “I couldn’t find one,” Kueng told the others. None of the officers moved from their positions.
For the next two minutes and 53 seconds, until 8:27:24 p.m., Chauvin keeps his knee on Floyd’s neck.
An ambulance is called and Floyd is taken to the Hennepin County Medical Center, where he is declared dead.
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