A video shared on social media Monday evening shows a Minneapolis police officer holding his knee on the neck of a handcuffed man. The man can be heard moaning and telling the officer he could not breathe. At no point in the video does the man show any form of resisting, however, the cop continues to sit on his neck. The man later died.
A police statement said officers were responding to a “forgery in progress.”
“Officers were advised that the suspect was sitting on top of a blue car and appeared to be under the influence,” the statement said. “Two officers arrived and located the suspect, a male believed to be in his 40s, in his car. He was ordered to step from his car.
“After he got out, he physically resisted officers. Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress. Officers called for an ambulance,” according to the statement.
The man died soon after, the statement said, adding: “At no time were weapons of any type used by anyone involved in this incident. … Body worn cameras were on and activated during this incident.”
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said at a press conference Tuesday that the FBI will lead the investigation into the incident due to the possible civil rights violation.
Two of the officers involved have been “relieved of duty status,” Arradondo said. The officers are still receiving pay, but have no law enforcement duties.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey called the man’s death “simply awful,” and “wrong at every level” at the press conference Tuesday.
“For the better part of the night I’ve been trying to find the words to describe what happened and all I keep coming back to is that he should not have died,” Frey said.
“What we saw was horrible, completely and utterly messed up,” he said. “This man’s life matters, he matters. He was someone’s son, someone’s family member, someone’s friend. He was a human being and his life mattered.”