MINNEAPOLIS — Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey is calling for charges against the police officer seen on video with his knee on the neck of George Floyd.
The African American man died in police custody Monday night, and bystander video has since circulated showing a Minneapolis police officer with his knee on Floyd's neck as Floyd says repeatedly, "I can't breathe."
Multiple sources confirm for KARE 11 that the officer with his knee on Floyd is Derek Chauvin. Early Wednesday afternoon the City of Minneapolis released the names of all four officers fired in the wake of Floyd's death.
- Officer Derek Chauvin
- Officer Thomas Lane
- Officer Tou Thao
- Officer J Alexander Kueng
Frey held a press briefing Wednesday calling on Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman to file charges against Chauvin. Frey already announced Tuesday that four responding officers have been terminated. Protests erupted in the city Tuesday over the death.
"I’ve wrestled with, more than anything else over the last 36 hours, one fundamental question. Why is the man who killed George Floyd not in jail?" Frey said to reporters on Wednesday. "If you had done it, or I had done it, we would be behind bars right now. And I cannot come up with a good answer to that question."
Frey said that his request is based on video evidence that he's seen, and would not go into further details for fear of jeopardizing the investigation.
"George Floyd deserves justice, his family deserves justice, the black community deserves justice, and our city deserves justice," Frey said.
"We watched for five whole excruciating minutes as a white officer firmly pressed his knee into the neck of an unarmed, handcuffed black man," Frey said. "I saw no threat, I saw nothing that would signal that this kind of force was necessary."
Frey said that the maneuver used by the officer is not approved by the Minneapolis Police Department.
The Hennepin County Attorney's Office issued a statement Wednesday saying:
"This office is aware of Mayor Frey’s comments. We are working with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the Hennepin County Medical Examiner to expeditiously gather and review all of the evidence in the tragic death of Mr. George Floyd. The videotaped death of Mr. Floyd, which has outraged us and people across the country, deserves the best we can give and that is what this office will do."
Gov. Tim Walz said at a media briefing Wednesday that he's spoken with both Frey and Freeman, and they've promised "swift action" once the facts are in.
"I was shocked and horrified by the video of George Floyd’s death," Walz said. "It’s very clear to anyone that what happened to George Floyd is wrong. The lack of humanity in the video made me physically ill."
Walz said he supports the protesters' right to peacefully assemble, and encourages them to be safe in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"George Floyd didn't deserve to die," Walz said. "But George Floyd does deserve justice."
Attorney General Keith Ellison followed the governor by saying that the investigation into Floyd's death is already underway on local, state and federal levels. He expressed confidence it will be conducted in a manner so that no one will be able to question or challenge the process, but also said possible charges or convictions are just a start. Ellison laid out a list of cases involving black men who had been killed by law enforcement, and said the death of George Floyd is just the most recent tragedy.
"What we're dealing with is not an isolated case. We're dealing with a systemic problem," Ellison said. "We've got to have permanent, deep systemic change."
The Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training issued a statement Wednesday saying that the tactics in the video "do not appear to reflect" their training. The statement called the video "troubling and disturbing" but said the board has a responsibility to withhold final judgment until the investigative process is complete.
A report filed by Minneapolis firefighters who responded to the scene at 38th & Chicago said their crew "was told by several people that the police 'had killed the man,'" and that bystanders were "upset but not unruly."
The MFD report states the crew encountered "an off-duty firefighter who had witnessed the end of the struggle and witnessed the (patient) go from struggling to unresponsive on the ground while handcuffed and subdued by PD."
The report says the patient (Floyd) was unresponsive and did not have a pulse when loaded into an ambulance.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman released a statement on Tuesday, saying that his office is "shocked and saddened by what appeared in a recent video."
Freeman's office said at the end of the BCA and FBI's investigations, the findings will be presented for consideration of prosecution.
"We promise a thorough, expedited review consistent with our on-going commitment to justice," the statement read. "Every person is entitled to fairness; no person stands above the law."
Wednesday evening, President Trump tweeted his support for the pending investigation into Floyd's death, as well as his condolences to Floyd's family. "At my request, the FBI and the Department of Justice are already well into an investigation as to the very sad and tragic death in Minnesota of George Floyd," the president tweeted. "I have asked for this investigation to be expedited and greatly appreciate all of the work done by local law enforcement. My heart goes out to George's family and friends. Justice will be served!"