George Floyd's family says four officers involved in his death should be charged with murder

The family of George Floyd, a black man who was held down with a knee as he protested that he couldn't breathe and later died in police custody, speaks with CNN's Don Lemon.

Posted: May 27, 2020 4:41 PM
Updated: May 27, 2020 4:41 PM

The family of George Floyd -- who died after pleading that he couldn't breathe while a police officer held him down with a knee on his neck -- say they want the four Minneapolis officers involved charged with murder.

"They were supposed to be there to serve and to protect and I didn't see a single one of them lift a finger to do anything to help while he was begging for his life. Not one of them tried to do anything to help him," Tera Brown, Floyd's cousin, told CNN's Don Lemon.

In an emotional interview Tuesday night, Brown and Floyd's two brothers held up his picture and spoke of a man who "didn't hurt anybody" and who they described as a "gentle giant."

"Knowing my brother is to love my brother," Philonise Floyd said. "They could have tased him; they could have maced him. Instead, they put their knee in his neck and just sat on him and then carried on."

"They treated him worse than they treat animals," he said.

Four officers involved were fired Tuesday, the police department said, and state and federal authorities are investigating the case. That includes Officer Derek Chauvin, the man seen on video restraining Floyd with his knee, Chauvin's attorney Tom Kelly said.

Kelly said he wouldn't yet release a statement on Chauvin's behalf. No charges have been filed.

The Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis said in a statement the officers were cooperating in the investigation and urged "now is not the time to rush to (judgment)" while the officers' actions are examined.

Minneapolis police said officers were responding to an alleged forgery Monday evening and were told a person later described as the suspect was sitting on a car. They found Floyd, who at that point was inside a car and police said he "physically resisted" after he got out. Officers handcuffed Floyd, who police said "appeared to be suffering medical distress." He was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police said.

Video captured by bystanders at the scene of the arrest shows an officer with his knee pressed against the neck of the 46-year-old, who was handcuffed on the pavement, complaining that his body hurt and he couldn't breathe. Two officers handled the man on the ground while another stood nearby with his eyes on the bystanders as traffic passed.

Surveillance video obtained from a nearby restaurant showed the first point of contact police had with the man. An officer escorts a handcuffed Floyd out of a car and Floyd sits on the sidewalk. Moments later, the officer and another escort Floyd away, still with his hands behind his back.

George's brother Rodney Floyd told CBS that he didn't believe George was resisting arrest.

"You have eyes. I have eyes. You can see what you saw," Rodney Floyd said in an interview that "CBS This Morning" aired Wednesday. "And I saw, and the nation saw ... and every black person saw, the same thing, because it don't happen to nobody else."

"They need to be charged with murder because what they did was murder," Brown told CNN. "And almost the whole world has witnessed that because somebody was gracious enough to record it."

George Floyd's sister Bridgett Floyd told ABC on Wednesday that she also wants the officers arrested.

The officers' firings are "definitely not enough justice for me and my family," she told "Good Morning America." I feel those guys need to be put in jail. They murdered my brother."

A day after Floyd's death, hundreds gathered at the same intersection where he was pinned to the ground and they later marched to a police precinct to protest.

The protesters chanted "No justice, no peace," and "I can't breathe."

Some demonstrators wheeled a shopping cart full of rocks just outside the precinct and dumped it on the ground for people to throw, a CNN team there reported. Police used tear gas to disperse the crowd after some people turned unruly, a spokesman for the police department said.

'I can't breathe'

The video of Floyd's encounter with police that has circulated on social media shows one police officer with his knee on Floyd to keep him on the ground. "Please, I can't breathe," the man says, protesting for several minutes before he becomes silent. Bystanders urge the officer to release the man from his hold.

The technique is against department regulations, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said Tuesday, and the officer had no reasons to employ it.

"The technique that was used is not permitted; is not a technique that our officers get trained in on," he said. "And our chief has been very clear on that piece. There is no reason to apply that kind of pressure with a knee to someone's neck."

In the video, the police officer's leg remains on Floyd for several minutes, even as the man is pleading for help. "My stomach hurts," Floyd can be heard telling the officer. "My neck hurts. Everything hurts."

At one point the Floyd says, "Give me some water or something. Please. Please."

By the end of the video, he is seen motionless, with his eyes shut, lying on the pavement.

The incident recalls the 2014 death of Eric Garner, who also uttered the words "I can't breathe" while in a New York officer's chokehold. Since Garner's death, the phrase has become a rallying cry throughout the Black Lives Matter movement.

That officer never faced charges. He was fired in 2019 after being found guilty in a disciplinary trial of using a chokehold on Garner and later sued the city over his termination.

Garner's mother told CNN that Floyd's death feels like déjà vu.

Findings on the cause and manner of Floyd's death remain pending and it is being investigated by local, state and federal law enforcement, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office said in a statement.

Mayor Frey offered his condolences to Floyd's family Tuesday, adding that what the video shows was "utterly messed up."

"For five minutes, we watched as a white officer pressed his knee to the neck of a black man," Frey said in a news conference.

"When you hear someone calling for help, you are supposed to help. This officer failed in the most basic human sense," he said.

"Being black in America," he added, should not be "a death sentence."

FBI is investigating

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has opened an investigation into Floyd's death, which will focus on whether the Minneapolis Police Department officers involved "willfully deprived (Floyd) of a right or privilege protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States," according to a statement from the FBI Minneapolis Division.

The FBI said it will present its findings to the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Minnesota for consideration of possible federal charges.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is conducting its own investigation into possible violations of Minnesota statutes, the FBI said.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 48626

Reported Deaths: 2717
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11723689
Lake5212244
Elkhart332051
Allen2815132
St. Joseph198168
Cass16399
Hamilton1596101
Hendricks1414100
Johnson1288117
Porter73637
Tippecanoe7279
Madison66364
Clark66044
Bartholomew58944
Howard58057
LaPorte57926
Vanderburgh5706
Kosciusko5564
Marshall4926
Noble48428
Jackson4723
LaGrange4719
Delaware45050
Boone44943
Hancock44935
Shelby43025
Floyd38244
Morgan32931
Monroe30128
Montgomery29720
Grant29526
Clinton2892
Dubois2836
Henry28016
White26510
Decatur25532
Lawrence24625
Vigo2368
Dearborn23323
Warrick22129
Harrison21622
Greene19032
Miami1842
Jennings17612
Putnam1708
DeKalb1634
Scott1628
Daviess14717
Wayne1426
Orange13523
Perry1359
Steuben1302
Franklin1268
Ripley1227
Jasper1212
Wabash1132
Carroll1102
Fayette1017
Newton9910
Whitley965
Starke933
Gibson872
Randolph804
Huntington782
Wells751
Jefferson722
Fulton711
Jay680
Washington671
Pulaski661
Knox640
Clay604
Rush583
Adams501
Owen491
Benton480
Sullivan451
Posey440
Spencer411
Blackford392
Brown391
Crawford320
Fountain322
Tipton311
Switzerland270
Martin230
Parke230
Ohio170
Vermillion140
Warren141
Union130
Pike110
Unassigned0193

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 58904

Reported Deaths: 2970
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin10587431
Cuyahoga8048379
Hamilton6158204
Lucas2788303
Marion273439
Pickaway220141
Summit2175207
Montgomery213431
Mahoning1849238
Butler163747
Columbiana130660
Stark1133113
Lorain105167
Trumbull97473
Warren88124
Clark7729
Delaware58815
Fairfield58516
Tuscarawas56810
Belmont55422
Medina53632
Lake50819
Licking49612
Miami47231
Portage44959
Ashtabula43644
Wood43651
Clermont4226
Geauga40843
Wayne36352
Richland3475
Allen32341
Mercer2879
Greene2769
Darke25326
Erie24622
Holmes2393
Huron2232
Madison1999
Ottawa15024
Sandusky13714
Crawford1365
Washington13520
Ross1303
Putnam12915
Coshocton1272
Hardin12312
Morrow1171
Auglaize1074
Jefferson912
Monroe8917
Union891
Muskingum861
Hancock791
Hocking788
Preble781
Guernsey743
Lawrence720
Williams722
Shelby694
Clinton680
Logan641
Athens631
Fulton620
Ashland601
Carroll593
Wyandot595
Brown581
Knox521
Defiance513
Fayette460
Highland451
Scioto450
Champaign411
Van Wert380
Perry351
Seneca342
Henry300
Paulding260
Adams241
Jackson240
Pike240
Vinton222
Gallia181
Harrison121
Meigs120
Morgan110
Noble110
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
82° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 87°
Angola
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 84°
Huntington
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 85°
Decatur
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 82°
Van Wert
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 82°
Hot Wednesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events