Minneapolis mayor calls for criminal charges in suspect’s death

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Protests sweep Minneapolis after black man dies in police custody.Four Minneapolis police officers were fired Tuesday after the detention and death of 47-year-old George Floyd.A Facebook video showed a white officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck as he pleaded with police, “I can’t breathe.”.Floyd died soon after the encounter, which started when police detained him Monday evening on suspicion of trying to pass a fake $20 bill at a convenience store.The FBI launched an investigation Tuesday, as the Minneap

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey is calling for criminal charges to be filed against Derek Chauvin, the former police officer who pressed his knee into George Floyd’s neck that allegedly led to Floyd’s death.

Frey made the announcement during a Wednesday afternoon press conference.

Chauvin, along with three other police officers, were fired one day after Floyd died while in custody.

Frey also said charges against other individuals may be forthcoming.

Hundreds of protesters took to Minneapolis streets Tuesday night in the wake of yet another incident where an unarmed black suspect died while in police custody.

Protesters filled the intersection Tuesday evening in the street where Floyd died while being restrained by police, chanting and carrying banners that read, "I can't breathe" and "Jail killer KKKops." They eventually marched more than 2 miles to a city police precinct, with some protesters damaging windows, a squad car and spraying graffiti on the building.

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN,- MAY 26: Police clashed with protesters at the Minneapolis 3rd Police Precinct. People gathered at Chicago Ave. and East 38th Street during a rally in Minneapolis on Tuesday, May 26, 2020. Federal authorities are investigating a white Minneapolis police officer for possible civil rights violations, after a video surface showing him kneeling on a handcuffed African-American man's neck and ignoring the man's protests that he couldn't breathe. The man later died. An attorney for the man's family identified him as George Floyd.

Credit: Carlos Gonzalez/Star Tribune via Getty Images

MINNEAPOLIS, MN,- MAY 26: Police clashed with protesters at the Minneapolis 3rd Police Precinct. People gathered at Chicago Ave. and East 38th Street during a rally in Minneapolis on Tuesday, May 26, 2020. Federal authorities are investigating a white Minneapolis police officer for possible civil rights violations, after a video surface showing him kneeling on a handcuffed African-American man's neck and ignoring the man's protests that he couldn't breathe. The man later died. An attorney for the man's family identified him as George Floyd.

Credit: Carlos Gonzalez/Star Tribune via Getty Images

Combined ShapeCaption
MINNEAPOLIS, MN,- MAY 26: Police clashed with protesters at the Minneapolis 3rd Police Precinct. People gathered at Chicago Ave. and East 38th Street during a rally in Minneapolis on Tuesday, May 26, 2020. Federal authorities are investigating a white Minneapolis police officer for possible civil rights violations, after a video surface showing him kneeling on a handcuffed African-American man's neck and ignoring the man's protests that he couldn't breathe. The man later died. An attorney for the man's family identified him as George Floyd.

Credit: Carlos Gonzalez/Star Tribune via Getty Images

Credit: Carlos Gonzalez/Star Tribune via Getty Images

A line of police in riot gear eventually confronted the protesters, firing tear gas and projectiles. Some protesters kicked canisters back toward police. Some protesters stacked shopping carts to make a barricade at a Target store across the street from the station, and though steady rain diminished the crowd, tense skirmishes stretched late into the evening.

Four officers were fired one day after Floyd's death, a swift move by the Minneapolis chief with the mayor's full backing.

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Floyd, 46, died Monday night and video later emerged showing the man on the ground with a police officer pressing his knee against Floyd's neck. Footage released of the incident showed Floyd shouting, “I cannot breathe” and “Don’t kill me.”

Officers had responded to a call from a grocery store that claimed Floyd had allegedly used a forged check.

The officers were dismissed soon after a bystander's video taken outside a south Minneapolis grocery store Monday night showed an officer kneeling on the handcuffed man's neck, even after he pleaded that he could not breathe and stopped moving.

Mayor Jacob Frey announced the firings on Twitter, saying: "This is the right call."

The FBI and state law enforcement were investigating Floyd's death, which 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.

The officers in the Minneapolis incident haven't even been publicly identified, though one defense attorney has confirmed he is representing Derek Chauvin, the officer seen with his knee on Floyd's neck. The attorney, Tom Kelly, declined to comment further.

The police union asked the public to wait for the investigation to take its course and not to "rush to judgment and immediately condemn our officers."

Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said the department would conduct a full internal investigation, and prosecutors will decide whether to file criminal charges against the officers involved.

The Hennepin County Attorney's Office said it was "shocked and saddened" by the video and pledged to handle the case fairly. Part of that investigation will likely focus on the intent of the officers, whether they meant to harm Floyd or whether it was a death that happened in the course of police work. The FBI was investigating whether the officers willfully deprived Floyd of his civil rights.

News accounts show Chauvin was one of six officers who fired their weapons in the 2006 death of Wayne Reyes, whom police said pointed a sawed-off shotgun at officers after stabbing two people. Chauvin also shot and wounded a man in 2008 in a struggle after Chauvin and his partner responded to a reported domestic assault. Police did not immediately respond to a request for Chauvin's service record.

In Minneapolis, kneeling on a suspect's neck is allowed under the department's use-of-force policy for officers who have received training in how to compress a neck without applying direct pressure to the airway. It is considered a "non-deadly force option," according to the department's policy handbook.

A chokehold is considered a deadly force option and involves someone obstructing the airway. According to the department's use-of-force policy, officers are to use only an amount of force necessary that would be objectively reasonable.

In a post on his Facebook page, the mayor, who is white, apologized Tuesday to the black community for the officer's treatment of Floyd, 46, who worked security at a restaurant.

"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 video starts with the shirtless man on the ground, and does not show what happened in the moments prior. The unidentified officer is kneeling on his neck, ignoring his pleas. "Please, please, please, I can't breathe. Please, man," said Floyd, who has his face against the pavement.

But Floyd slowly becomes motionless under the officer's restraint. The officer does not remove his knee until the man is loaded onto a gurney by paramedics.

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Protesters gather near the site of the death of a man, Tuesday, May 26, 2020, who died in police custody Monday night in Minneapolis after video shared online by a bystander showed a white officer kneeling on his neck during his arrest as he pleaded that he couldn't breathe.

Credit: Jim Mone/AP

Protesters gather near the site of the death of a man, Tuesday, May 26, 2020, who died in police custody Monday night in Minneapolis after video shared online by a bystander showed a white officer kneeling on his neck during his arrest as he pleaded that he couldn't breathe.

Credit: Jim Mone/AP

Combined ShapeCaption
Protesters gather near the site of the death of a man, Tuesday, May 26, 2020, who died in police custody Monday night in Minneapolis after video shared online by a bystander showed a white officer kneeling on his neck during his arrest as he pleaded that he couldn't breathe.

Credit: Jim Mone/AP

Credit: Jim Mone/AP

Several witnesses had gathered on a nearby sidewalk, some recording the scene on their phones. The bystanders become increasingly agitated. One man yells repeatedly. "He's not responsive right now!" Two witnesses, including one woman who said she was a Minneapolis firefighter, yell at the officers to check the man's pulse. "Check his pulse right now and tell me what it is!" she said.

At one point, an officer says: "Don't do drugs, guys." And one man yells, "Don't do drugs, bro? What is that? What do you think this is?"

The Hennepin County medical examiner identified Floyd but said the cause of death was pending.

Floyd had worked security for five years at a restaurant called Conga Latin Bistro and rented a home from the restaurant owner, Jovanni Thunstrom.

He was "a good friend, person and a good tenant," the restaurateur told the Star Tribune. "He was family. His co-workers and friends loved him."

Ben Crump, a prominent civil rights and personal injury attorney, said he had been hired by Floyd's family.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.