The unarmed Black man who died Monday in Minnesota police custody after cops tried to arrest him under the auspices of “forgery” has been identified. George Floyd is the name of the handcuffed man who was shown on viral video being pinned to the ground by a Minneapolis Police Department officer who appeared to be steadily applying pressure. Floyd could be heard on the video repeating, “I can’t breathe.”
Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump tweeted Floyd’s name Tuesday morning as outcry over what witnesses called “murder” was growing.
Crump announced later on Tuesday that he was representing Floyd’s family and called the deadly police response “abusive, excessive and inhumane.”
Crump made a plea via social media earlier in the day for people to help him identify Floyd or his family.
The Minneapolis Poice Department was quick to announce that no weapons were involved in the man’s death it downplayed as a “medical incident,” but the video prompted speculation on social media that he was killed as a result of police brutality. That sentiment was echoed by Crump, who tweeted that Floyd was “killed by Minneapolis police. Crump rightfully added in the tweet that forgery, the reported suspicion under which cops approached Floyd, is not a crime punishable by death.
Crump is also an attorney in two other high-profile cases involving white people killing unarmed Black people. He represents the families of Ahmaud Arbery — the man who was jogging when a father-son team of vigilantes hunted him down and shot him in broad daylight in the middle of a road in Georgia — and Breonna Taylor — the EMT in Lousiville who was sleeping in her own home when police shot eight times while trying to serve a no-knock warrant at the wrong home looking for a suspect who was already in custody.
The Minneapolis Police Department’s issued a press release about the incident that made no mention of the still-unidentified officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck. Instead, the department chose to classify the death as a “medical incident.”
However, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo announced during a press conference Tuesday morning that both of the officers involved in Floyd’s death were on “relieved of duty status,” which reportedly differs from the standard protocol of placing cops on administrative leave following the death of a suspect.
A public information officer for the Minneapolis Police Department had previously said that Floyd “appeared to be under the influence.” When reporters asked whether that was a reference to drugs or alcohol or something else, Arradondo said the matter was under investigation. The case was swiftly referred to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension before it was announced Tuesday morning that the FBI would also be joining the investigation.
During the same press conference, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey spoke in no uncertain terms about how unacceptable Floyd’s death is and called it “wrong on every level.” He said Floyd’s life “mattered.”
A protest has been planned for Tuesday afternoon to be held at the same intersection Minneapolis location where police accosted Floyd.
“We are gathering at the site of the victim’s death, at the intersection of 38th and Chicago Ave in Minneapolis, to demand justice for the victim and his family,” a Facebook post from protest organizers said in part. “We demand for the names of the officers in question to be released; and for those officers to be fired swiftly and criminally charged for their murderous conduct.” Find more details on the protest by clicking here.
Mayor Frey asked people planning to attend the protest to wear masks to safeguard against the spread of the coronavirus. The two officers involved in the incident that led to Floyd’s death were notably not wearing masks or gloves at the time of the botched arrest.
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar tweeted that the case must have “a thorough and complete investigation outside investigation.”
This is a developing story that will be updated as additional information becomes available.