Four Minneapolis police officers involved in the arrest of a black man who died in custody were fired a few hours after a bystander’s video showed an officer kneeling on the handcuffed man’s neck, even after he pleaded that he could not breathe and stopped moving, the Associated Press reports. Mayor Jacob Frey announced the firings on Twitter, saying “This is the right call.” The death of George Floyd, 46, Monday night was under investigation by the FBI and state law enforcement. It drew comparisons to Eric Garner, an unarmed black man who died in 2014 in New York City after he was placed in a chokehold by police and pleaded for his life, saying he could not breathe.
Frey apologized to the black community for the officer’s treatment of Floyd, a restaurant security worker. “Being Black in America should not be a death sentence. For five minutes, we watched a white officer press his knee into a Black man’s neck. Five minutes. When you hear someone calling for help, you’re supposed to help. This officer failed in the most basic, human sense,” Frey said. Police said Floyd matched the description of a suspect in a forgery case at a grocery store, and that he resisted arrest. The video shows an officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck, ignoring his pleas. “Please, please, please, I can’t breathe. Please, man,” said Floyd. Ben Crump, a prominent civil rights and personal injury attorney, said he had been hired by Floyd’s family. “I would like for those officers to be charged with murder,” his sister Bridgett Floyd said Wednesday on the “Today Show.” “Because that’s exactly what they did. They murdered my brother. He was crying for help.”