Black man dies after begging white police officer to stop crushing his neck so he can breathe
“They’re going to kill me,” the man said, as a policeman thrust a knee in his neck.
A disturbing video shows a black man dying in police custody in Minneapolis on Monday night after repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe” as a white police officer thrust a knee into his neck.
In a video posted on Facebook by a bystander, the man can be seen talking to police and onlookers, begging them to help him, while two police officers push him to the ground, before he becomes insensitive.
“Please, please, I can’t breathe. Please, man, please,” the man said several times, as a police officer held a knee to his neck for eight minutes.
“I can’t breathe,” said the man, who has not yet been officially identified.
You can hear someone talking to them, telling them to get up and get in the car, although you don’t know if they’re talking to an officer.
“I can’t move,” the man said. “Everything hurts me. Give me water or something, please. I can’t breathe, officer.”
“They’re going to kill me,” he said. “They’re going to kill me, man.”
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A Minneapolis police officer presses his knee against a man’s neck.
Spectators are heard asking police to stop, saying the man was bleeding from the nose, could not resist arrest and the officer was preventing him from breathing.
“He’s fine,” a policeman replies, saying they tried to put him in a car for 10 minutes.
When the detained man no longer reacts, the spectators begin to demand medical care from the officers.
“He’s not reacting right now,” said one bystander, who came forward to help a policeman pull out a tear gas canister.
“He’s got a pulse,” another viewer asks. “Check his pulse!”
Police repeatedly told onlookers to return and did not immediately provide medical attention to the man in their custody who did not respond.
Paramedics then arrive, check the man’s pulse, who is not responding, and take him on a stretcher and in an ambulance.
Police told local KSTP station that the man was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center, where he died.
The incident took place outside a supermarket on the corner of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis.
Minneapolis police did not immediately respond to BuzzFeed News’ request for comment, but in a statement to KSTP, police spokesman John Elder said the man died after “medical distress.”
“He was ordered to get out of the car … after getting out, he physically resisted the officers … the officers managed to handcuff the suspect and the officers noticed that the man was in medical distress,” Elder told KSTP.
“They are literally lying,” wrote the woman who posted the video of the incident on Facebook.
The FBI is currently investigating the incident.
At a moving press conference on Tuesday morning, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said the man “should not have died” and that the officer “failed in the most basic human sense.”
“What we saw was horrible, completely and completely disturbed,” Frey said.
“Being black in America shouldn’t be a death sentence,” Frey said. For five minutes, we watched a white officer stick his knee in a black man’s neck. For five minutes. When you hear someone calling for help, you are supposed to help them. This officer failed in the most basic human sense.”
The man’s death is the latest in a long history of unarmed black men who die in interactions with police in the United States.
The Minneapolis man pleaded “I can’t breathe” like Eric Garner, who died in New York in 2014 after a New York Police Officer placed him in an illegal strangulation. A video taken by a bystander also recorded his death.
In 2015, there were numerous protests in Minneapolis when Jamar Clark, 24, was shot and killed by two white police officers. The authorities subsequently refused to charge the two police officers on the grounds that their use of force was justified.
Minneapolis police were also investigated in 2017, when a black police officer shot and killed an unarmed white woman who called 911 to report a possible sexual assault. The officer is currently serving a 12-year sentence.