Advertisement

‘He’s dying!’: Crowd horror during George Floyd’s arrest captured in new video

Four former Minneapolis police officers charged in the death of George Floyd
Former Minneapolis police officers Derek Chauvin, from left, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao have been charged in the death of George Floyd.
(Associated Press)

Newly released body-camera video from a third officer involved in George Floyd’s arrest captures for the first time the growing horror of onlookers who repeatedly pleaded with the officers to get off Floyd.

The video made available Thursday comes from Tou Thao, one of four former Minneapolis police officers charged in Floyd’s death. Floyd, who was Black, died after a white officer, Derek Chauvin, pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes on a south Minneapolis street May 25 as Floyd repeatedly said he could not breathe.

The death sparked massive protests across the U.S. — and around the world — against racial injustice and police brutality.

During the arrest, Thao held back a crowd of nearly a dozen bystanders, many of whom recorded the scene with their cellphones, as Chauvin pinned down Floyd with his knee. Two other officers, Thomas Lane and J. Kueng, held down Floyd, who was suspected of passing a counterfeit $20 bill at a convenience store.

Advertisement

In Thao’s video, a man wearing a Northside Boxing Club sweatshirt yells at Chauvin to “get off of his ... neck, bro” and asks Thao while motioning toward Floyd: “You gonna keep him like that?”

The man continues to address Thao, saying: “You gonna let him kill that man in front of you, bro? Bro, he’s not even ... moving right now, bro.”

Body-camera footage from two police officers involved in George Floyd’s arrest captured a panicked and fearful Floyd pleading with officers before his death.

Thao orders the crowd onto the sidewalk. At one point he tells the onlookers: “This is why you don’t do drugs, kids.”

Advertisement

When a woman who identifies herself as a Minneapolis firefighter arrives out of uniform, Thao yells at her: “Back off!” She asks if the officers have checked Floyd’s pulse.

“Let me see a pulse,” she demands of the police.

“Check his pulse,” the man says. “You bogus, bro. ‘Don’t do drugs,’ bro? ... You call what he’s doing OK?”

Advertisement

The crowd grows more agitated. “What ... are you doing?” a young woman shouts. “He’s dying!”

When the man approaches Thao with his phone, Thao shoves him back toward the sidewalk, yelling: “Get out of the street!”

Prosecutors submitted Thao’s body-cam footage earlier this week. On Monday, body-cam video from two of the other officers, Lane and Kueng, was released under a judge’s order. That footage, along with Thao’s video, shows Floyd pleading with the officers as they struggle to place him in the squad car.

Floyd repeatedly says he cannot breathe and calls out for his mother before passing out. He was pronounced dead at a hospital that evening.

Advertisement

Mourners and protesters in Minneapolis memorialized George Floyd, whose death at the hands of police has prompted a nationwide movement.

Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter. Lane, Kueng and Thao are charged with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and manslaughter. All four officers were fired and are scheduled for trial in March.

Minnesota Atty. Gen. Keith Ellison, whose office is prosecuting the case, has asked the judge to have all four officers tried jointly. Defense attorneys have until Sept. 8 to respond.

The next court hearing for the four is scheduled for Sept. 11.


Advertisement