Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has called on prosecutors to arrest and charge the white police officer who was filmed kneeling on the neck of black man George Floyd moments before he died in custody.
City officials on Wednesday formally identified the four fired police officers involved in Monday’s incident as Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, and J Alexander Kueng.
The cops, who were initially placed on paid administrative leave, were terminated from the Minneapolis Police Department on Tuesday after footage of Floyd’s arrest and subsequent death was widely shared on social media.
Mayor Frey, who said firing the cops was the ‘right call’, has since called for Chauvin to be formally arrested and charged over his role in the incident that has sparked national calls for justice.
‘If most people, particularly people of color, had done what a police officer did late Monday, they’d already be behind bars,’ Frey said in a tweet on Wednesday.
‘That’s why today I’m calling on Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman to charge the arresting officer in this case.’
Chauvin had been earlier identified by Floyd family attorney Ben Crump as the officer who pinned Floyd to the ground in a video of his arrest. Footage showed him digging his knee into Floyd’s neck as he repeatedly pleaded that he could not breathe.
New video sent to us shows the moment George Floyd was removed from his vehicle and handcuffed on 38th and Chicago.
Video courtesy of Christopher Belfrey pic.twitter.com/MiIIula4sA
— Alex Lehnert (@AlexLehnertFox9) May 26, 2020
Speaking at a press conference in Minneapolis, Mayor Frey said he has spent the last 36 hours wrestling with one ‘fundamental’ question asking: ‘Why is the man who killed George Floyd not in jail?’
‘If you had done it or I had done it we would be behind bars right now and I cannot come up with an answer to that question,’ he added.
Floyd, 46, died in hospital shortly after his confrontation with police, which is now under investigation by the FBI and has prompted thousands of protesters to take to the streets to demand justice.
Cops were reported to have located Floyd, who was suspected of forgery, in his car around 8pm before ordering him to exit the vehicle, according to a police statement. A spokesman alleged Floyd got out of the car before ‘physically resisting officers’.
However, new video footage, obtained by FOX 9 on Wednesday, shed light on the moments leading up to Floyd’s arrest, showing two officers manhandling and forcibly removing him from his car as he is placed in handcuffs outside the Cup Foods grocery store on 38th and Chicago Ave in south Minneapolis.
Floyd appears to be complying with officers and not resisting arrest before an altercation ensues.
Additional CCTV footage obtained by CBS News from a nearby restaurant also showed parts of the altercation between Floyd and officers on the sidewalk.