7.10.2020

George Floyd told officers 'I can't breathe' more than 20 times before he died, transcripts shows


Newly released transcripts of the minutes leading up to George Floyd’s death reveal he told the officers “I can’t breathe” more than 20 times, only to have his plea disregarded by Derek Chauvin, the white officer pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck, who said: “It takes a heck of lots of oxygen to talk.”


Floyd’s death words have turn out to be a rallying cry at demonstrations around the world amid a reckoning with systemic racism and police brutality. The chilling transcripts of body-camera video recordings that were made public on Wednesday provide the most detailed account yet of what happened after police apprehended Floyd on 25 May.


Before he died, Floyd cried for his dead mom and his children. “Momma, I love you. Tell my kids I love them. I’m dead,” he said.


The new proof was made public as part of efforts by one of the officers involved, Thomas Lane, to have charges that he aided and abetted in murder thrown out.


The Congressional Black Caucus, which is made up of most of the African American members of the US Congress, on Thursday stepped up calls for legislation to be exceeded to reform what many believe to be largely overly militarized police forces in the US, with many departments emphasizing highly aggressive responses to crime and unrest instead of fostering community relations and investing more in social services and education.


The Georgia congressman Hank Johnson tweeted: “Systemic racism permeates too many of our police departments in this country and has existed in policing for generations.”

The transcripts make clear that George Floyd tried to cooperate with police and told them he was not feeling well. “My belly hurts. My neck hurts. Everything hurts. I need some water or something, please,” Floyd told them. Begging now not to be put in a squad car, Floyd said he became claustrophobic.

Much of what the general public knew about Floyd’s death formerly came from bystander video and surveillance footage. As officers noted that Floyd was passing out,the new transcripts revealed that onlookers asked if Floyd had a pulse.. “He’s not even breathing right now, bro, you observed that’s cool?” a person asked.


“You got one?” Lane asked, as he and other officers repeatedly attempted and failed to discover Floyd’s pulse. “Huh,” Chauvin said at that time, retaining his knee on George Floyd's neck.


The new filings includes 82 pages of body-camera transcripts and a 60-page transcript of Lane’s interview with investigators. When Lane was asked if he felt either he or Chauvin had contributed to Floyd’s death, his lawyer interjected: “You’re not going to answer that.”

Lane’s lawyer, Earl Gray, painted an image of a rookie who trusted Chauvin, a senior officer. Gray said that once Floyd become at the ground, Lane had asked twice if officers must roll Floyd on his side, and Chauvin stated no.


Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter. Lane, and the officers J Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao, were charged with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and manslaughter. Lane was holding Floyd’s legs and Kueng was at Floyd’s midsection as Chauvin restricted his breathing.


An lawyer for George Floyd’s family did not immediately return requests for comments. A spokesman for the attorney general’s office said prosecutors planned to oppose the motion to dismiss charges against Lane.


The transcripts show that Floyd was deathly afraid of the officers as they approached him. As Lane initially approached Floyd, who was in a car with two other people, Floyd repeatedly said: “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”


“God dang man. Man, I got shot. I were given shot the same way, Mr Officer, before,” he instructed Lane, who had his gun drawn. “Mr Officer, please don’t shoot me. Please, man.”


Later, Lane asked Shawanda Renee Hill, a witness inside the car, why Floyd was “getting all squirrelly and now not showing us his hands and just being all bizarre like that?” according to the transcript.


“Because he’s been shot before,” Hill stated. “He got a thing going on, I’m telling you, about the police.”

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