It was a group effort, after all.
NBC went through the clip and matched some of the signs and objects nearby to those seen in the original Floyd video, just to make sure that this footage really is of him in his final minutes and not of some other arrest. You’d like to think there can’t be too many incidents happening in the U.S. every day where groups of cops press the air out of a guy while he screams that he’s dying, but who knows.
CNN notes today that some police departments prohibit officers from putting their knee on a suspect’s neck but the Minneapolis PD allows neck restraints in certain circumstances, using either light pressure without cutting off the airway or in rarer cases enough pressure to render the subject unconscious. But there are a few problems with that in Floyd’s case.
Both [techniques] can only be conducted when a subject is resisting arrest, per the policy, and unconscious neck restraint is allowed only when subjects are aggressively resisting and can’t be subdued in another manner.
The method used to restrain Floyd doesn’t fit neatly into either of those categories, [professor Seth] Stoughton said.
“This is not a neck restraint,” he said of the position Floyd was held in during his arrest. “It’s not just putting pressure on someone’s neck. It’s really dangerous.”…
“You use the force necessary to have someone comply and take them into custody,” [Sonia] Pruitt, who is chairwoman of the National Black Police Association, said. “This man was already in handcuffs and already on the ground. (Restraining him) was total excessive force.”
Stoughton went on to say that leaving a suspect who’s handcuffed flat on his chest is dangerous in itself since it limits his ability to breathe, risking “positional asphyxia.” The Minneapolis cops choked out Floyd in three separate ways, in other words — they left him prone on the ground for minutes on end, they had multiple men kneel on him, and then Derek Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s throat as bystanders begged him to lay off. Maybe the real surprise in the video is that Floyd survived as long as he did.
I mentioned in this post last night that Chauvin has had 18 complaints filed against him since he joined the force, two of which earned him letters of reprimand. The details of the complaints haven’t been released yet but the Daily Beast interviewed one man in Minneapolis who says he had a run-in with a cop whom he thinks was Chauvin years ago that ended with him being shot in the groin. The man’s sister insists that the officer in question *was* Chauvin and contemporaneous reporting seems to confirm it. Cops were called to the man’s home in 2008 by his girlfriend at the time, who claimed that he was hitting her. The man says the cops showed up and rushed in without announcing themselves:
“When I saw that he breached the front door, I ran in the bathroom,” Toles told The Daily Beast. “Then [Chauvin] starts kicking in that door. I was in the bathroom with a cigarette and no lighter.”
The 33-year-old said that Chauvin broke into the bathroom and started to hit him without warning. Toles said he returned blows to the officer because “my natural reaction to someone hitting me is to stop them from hitting me.”
“All I could do is assume it was the police because they didn’t announce themselves or ever give me a command,” he said. “I didn’t know what to think when he started hitting me. I swear he was hitting me with the gun.”
According to local news reports, Chauvin shot and wounded Toles after he allegedly reached for an officer’s gun. Toles said he doesn’t remember being shot—just “being walked through the apartment until I collapsed in the main entrance where I was left to bleed until the paramedics came.”
Toles ended up pleading to a misdemeanor. Did he really reach for Chauvin’s gun that night, even with “several officers” in his apartment, or was that the story submitted to make the shooting seem justified?
Here’s a bizarre coincidence in lieu of an exit question: Chauvin and George Floyd apparently worked security at the same Minneapolis club. That fact is being played up today as suspicious, raising the question of whether Chauvin recognized Floyd when he had his knee on his neck, but the club owner can’t say for certain that they knew each other. Floyd apparently worked inside the club whereas Chauvin worked outside.
Andrea Jenkins, vice president of Minneapolis City Council, says George Floyd and Officer Chauvin worked at restaurant near Third Precinct.
“They were coworkers for a very long time.” pic.twitter.com/Xv90wfLtDu
— Evan Rosenfeld (@Evan_Rosenfeld) May 29, 2020