Almost from the moment George Floyd encountered the police on May 25, with a gun pointed at him, he appeared terrified and emotionally distraught, according to police camera footage that was newly made available for viewing Wednesday at a courthouse in downtown Minneapolis.
Mr. Floyd was visibly shaken, with his head down, and crying, as if he were in the throes of a panic attack, as he put his hands on the steering wheel in response to a frantic order from an officer.
He told the officers over and over that he was claustrophobic, as two officers struggled to push him to the back seat of a police vehicle. Throughout the video, he never appeared to present a physical threat to the officers, and even after he was handcuffed and searched for weapons, the officers seemed to be more concerned with controlling his body than saving his life, the footage showed.
The video offers the fullest portrait yet of the tragic events around Mr. Floyd’s killing. It begins with officers driving to the scene, after a convenience store clerk called 911 and said a man had used a counterfeit $20 bill, and it ends showing officers on the street discussing what happened, after Mr. Floyd is driven away in an ambulance. At one point, in footage not previously seen, the officers are shown dragging Mr. Floyd to the ground after he resisted being put in the squad car.
Once he was on the ground, as Mr. Floyd again said he couldn’t breathe, and asked for water, and begged for his life, Derek Chauvin, the senior officer on the scene, said, in a nonchalant, almost mocking, tone, “takes a heck of a lot of oxygen to say that.”
The footage provides more detail into the action of Mr. Chauvin, who has been charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for keeping his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes while he gasped for life. He was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
As the minutes ticked by, and Mr. Floyd became quieter and his body went limp, one officer checked his pulse and said he couldn’t find one.
Mr. Chauvin’s response, uttered with no emotion, was, “uh huh.”
Just before, after being told that Mr. Floyd appeared to be passing out, Mr. Chauvin appears to express more concern for his fellow officers than the man dying under his knee.
“You guys all right, though?” he said.
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SOURCE: The New York Times, Tim Arango, Matt Furber and Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs