( NEWS ) - Mayor Jacob Frey says four Minneapolis police officers involved in the death of George Floyd have been terminated.
The man's death Monday night after he struggled with officers was under investigation by the FBI and state law enforcement authorities. It immediately drew comparisons to the case of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man who died in 2014 in New York 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 early Tuesday in a post on his Facebook page.
“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 posted.
Police said the man matched the description of a suspect in a forgery case at a grocery store, and that he resisted arrest. The unidentified officer ignores his pleas. “Please, please, please, I can’t breathe. Please, man,” the man, who is handcuffed, is heard telling the officer.
After several minutes, one of the officers tells the man to “relax.” Minutes pass, and the man becomes motionless under the officer’s restraint. The officer leaves his knee on the man's neck for several minutes more.
Several witnesses had gathered on a nearby sidewalk, some recording the scene on their phones. The bystanders became increasingly agitated as the man pleaded with police. One bystander told officers they need to let him breathe. Another yelled at them to check the man's pulse.
The victim was identified as George Floyd by Ben Crump, a prominent civil rights and personal injury attorney who said he had been hired by Floyd’s family.