Leaked body camera footage has sparked a debate over whether the narrative surrounding George Floyd’s Memorial Day death is accurate, with some right-wingers claiming Floyd’s behavior before he was restrained proves officers were justified in using what turned out to be deadly force on him.
The footage was taken from cameras worn by former Minneapolis Police officers Alex Kueng and Thomas Lane. The Daily Mail obtained the video and published part of it on Monday.
In the tape, Floyd became distressed after Lane pointed a gun at his head and shouted commands as he sat in the driver’s seat of his vehicle. Floyd did not try to run away but he did not immediately follow the officers’ commands.
“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry,’ Floyd said at one point. “Goddang man. Man, I got shot the same way, Mr. officer, before.”
Floyd also begged them not to shoot him and explained he recently lost his mother.
“I’ll look at you eye-to-eye. Please don’t shoot me man,” Floyd said through tears. “I just lost my mom, man.”
Despite Floyd’s pleas, Lane and Kueng yelled orders and obscenities throughout the encounter. He is eventually ordered out of the car and cuffed. Lane asked Floyd’s two passengers about his behavior.
“Why’s he being all squirrelly and not showing us his hands and just being all weird like that?” Lane asked.
Shawanda Hill, who was in the back seat and used to date Floyd, told Lane he’d been shot before and implied he suffered from mental illness.
“Is he drunk or something?” Lane asked.
“No, he’s got a thing going on about the police,” Hill replied.
Floyd was walked to a squad car but when the officers tried to make him get in, he resisted.
“Please man. Don’t leave me by myself man, please. I’m just claustrophobic,” he said.
“Well you’re still going in the car,’ Lane told him.
“Y’all, I am going to die in here,” Floyd pleaded. “I’m going to die, man. I just had COVID, man. I don’t want to go back to that.”
The footage ended with Floyd’s highly publicized death after more than eight minutes under the knee of Derek Chauvin. Chauvin, Lane, Kueng and Tou Thao, another MPD officer on the scene, were all fired the day after Floyd’s death. Chauvin is facing a second-degree murder charge and the rest of the officers were charged with aiding and abetting.
The video was filed as evidence by Lane’s attorney to support a motion to dismiss charges against his client, reported CNN. It was available for in-person viewing on a limited basis by presiding Judge Peter Cahill last month, but news organizations were not allowed to publish it. The tapes sparked heated discussion on social media, with many comments coming from conservatives who seemed to be saying the video proved Floyd was responsible for his own death.
Others were in direct opposition to that point of view.
“Oh, are we talking about George Floyd again? He was on drugs, and died with weed, Meth, and fentanyl in his system – FACT. And he *still* didn’t deserve to die with that officer’s knee on his neck,” wrote one person. “EVERYONE came to that conclusion the first time around.”
Another added, “All the folks posting about how “George Floyd was no saint and would have lived if he had done what the cops told him to” have a REALLY strong “she deserved to be raped because she was wearing a short skirt” vibe going..”
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who represents Floyd’s family, believes the videos prove the officers acted inappropriately.
“The police officers approached him with guns drawn, simply because he was a Black man. As this video shows, he never posed any threat,” Crump said in a statement. “The officers’ contradictions continue to build. If not for the videos, the world might never have known about the wrongs committed against George Floyd.”