Mayor Jacob Frey called on the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office to pursue charges against a Minneapolis police officer involved in a viral incident that led to the death of George Floyd.
The global community erupted in outrage after video showed a Minneapolis officer, who has been identified in some reports as Derek Chauvin, pressing his knee into the neck of a handcuffed Floyd, who repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe.
According to a statement from the Minneapolis Police Department, Floyd was allegedly engaged in an act of “forgery” and “physically resisted officers” during the Monday night incident. The responding officers called for an ambulance after Floyd “appeared to be suffering medical distress.” He was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center where he died a short time later.
“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 during a Wednesday press conference. “If you had done it, or I had done it, we would be behind bars right now.”
“I cannot come up with a good answer to that question, and so I’m calling on Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman to act on the evidence before him, I’m calling on him to charge the arresting officer in this case,” Frey continued.
Chauvin and the three other officers involved in the incident were terminated Tuesday, Frey confirmed in a statement posted to Twitter.
Four responding MPD officers involved in the death of George Floyd have been terminated.
This is the right call.
— Mayor Jacob Frey (@MayorFrey) May 26, 2020
Frey declined to elaborate on the specific charges he would like to see pursued. The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office said in a statement that both the FBI and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension are investigating the case.
“At the end of the investigation, the findings will be presented to our office for consideration of prosecution. We promise a thorough, expedited review consistent with our on-going commitment to justice. Every person is entitled to fairness; no person stands above the law,” said the statement. “Our office will have no further comment until we announce our decision on prosecution.”
The Legislature’s People of Color and Indigenous Peoples Caucus asked the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office to “immediately open a murder investigation of the officers involved.”
“As POCI legislators, we fear police brutality has become a de facto accepted policy outcome for Minnesota. Predictably every year, Minnesota residents, specifically those of color and indigenous descent, are subjected to police violence,” the caucus said in a statement.
“We will continue our efforts to create state laws that bring accountability, greater humanity, and community-centered public safety – all with race equity – towards ending the unacceptable killings of people of color and indigenous people at the hands of our law enforcement entities.”
The mayor’s full Wednesday press conference can be watched below:
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