500,000 Sign Petition Calling for Charges Against George Floyd Officers
Thursday - 28/05/2020 06:52
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey also asked why the officer who put his knee on Floyd's neck for several minutes is not in jail.
More than half a million people have signed a petition demanding that the four officers involved in the death of George Floyd face criminal charges.
The "Justice for George Floyd" change.org petition had received 590,000 signatures as of the morning of Thursday, May 27, as the outrage over the Minneapolis man's death continues.
Floyd died after four Minneapolis Police officers were arresting him on suspicion of forgery. A video of the incident shows Floyd repeatedly saying "I can't breathe" while one officer puts his knees on his neck and keeps it there for several minutes.
Floyd eventually loses consciousness, prompting members of the public to urge the police to check his pulse. The officer's knee remains on Floyd's neck until paramedics arrive.
Floyd was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead.
The four police officers seen in the footage have been fired. They have been identified as Officer Derek Chauvin, Officer Thomas Lane, Officer Tou Thao, and Officer J Alexander Kueng.
"George was handcuffed and restrained and being completely cooperative when this all went down," the online petition states. "The officer put his knee on George's neck choking him for minutes on minutes while George screamed that he could not breathe.
"Not that it would matter at all, but George was not even wanted for a violent crime. A grocery store that he was signing a bad check.
"We are trying to reach the attention of Mayor Jacob Frey and DA Mike Freeman to beg to have the officers involved in this disgusting situation fired and for charges to be filed immediately."
"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 press conference. "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.
"We watched for five whole excruciating minutes as a white officer firmly pressed his knee into the neck of an unarmed handcuffed black man. I saw no threat. I saw nothing that would signal that this kind of force was necessary," Frey added.
Frey echoed a similar statement in a series of tweets. "George Floyd deserves justice. The Black community deserves justice. His friends and family deserve Justice," Frey wrote.
"There are precedents and protocols sitting in the reserves of institutions like this one that will give you about a thousand reasons not to do something. To not speak out. To not move so quickly.
"If most people, particularly people of color, had done what a police officer did late Monday, they'd already be behind bars."
In a statement, Freeman's office said they are aware of Frey's comments.
"We are working with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the HennepinCounty Medical Examiner to expeditiously gather and review all of the evidence in the tragic death of Mr. George Floyd," the statement added.
"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."
The actions of the offices were also condemned by police departments across the country.
Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said the actions in the video were "incredibly disturbing and go against the basic law enforcement principle of preservation of life."
Moore added: "The lack of compassion, use of excessive force, or going beyond the scope of the law, doesn't just tarnish our badge—it tears at the very fabric of race relations in this country."
Moore said that incidents like this are "sobering reminders" of how quickly public trust in the police can be lost as they themselves have experienced their own high profile incidents.
San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia added: "Not going hide behind 'not being there.' I'd be one of the first to condemn anyone had I seen similar happen to one of my brother/ sister officers.
"What I saw happen to George Floyd disturbed me and is not consistent with the goal of our mission. The act of one, impacts us all."
In a statement, Minneapolis Police Federation President Lt. Bob Kroll said: "Now is not the time to rush to judgment and immediately condemn our officers. We ask that the community remain calm and the investigation be completed in full."