MINNEAPOLIS, MN—On Tuesday, May 26, four Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) officers who were involved in the death of George Floyd were terminated.
Floyd was arrested by MPD officers at 3759 Chicago Avenue South on Monday, May 25, as the suspect of a 911 call reporting a “forgery in progress.” The 46-year-old died after a MPD officer kneeled on his neck for over 7 minutes – an incident that was recorded and went viral on social media.
Floyd was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center in an ambulance, where he was pronounced dead at 9:25 p.m. An incident report by the Minneapolis Fire Department claims that he was already “unresponsive” and “pulseless” while in the ambulance, and that the “primary action taken” was “basic life support.”
The names of the four terminated officers have not been publicly announced by the MPD. However, the MPD stated that the following four officers were involved in Floyd’s death, leading to widespread belief that they are the four sacked individuals:
- Derek Chauvin (seen in the video)
- Tou Thao (seen in the video)
- Thomas Lane
- J Alexander Kueng.
Chauvin is the officer who kneeled on Floyd’s neck. He has played a role in three officer-involved shootings. According to the Star Tribune, he allegedly shot and wounded Ira Latrell Toles during a domestic assault call in 2008. In January 2016, Chauvin was a winner of the MPD’s Service STAR awards for 15 years of continuous service.
Thao was the officer interacting with bystanders. He was reportedly sued – along with another officer – by Lamar Ferguson in 2017 for excessive use of force.
Lane and Kueng were holding Floyd down. The former joined the MPD as a police cadet just over a year ago in March 2019. Conan Daily reported that the latter was born in 1986, and is 6 feet tall and weighs approximately 170 lbs. He was the captain of Patrick Henry High School’s soccer team, and has had no prior disciplinary records since he joined the MPD in December 2017.
Although only two officers could be seen clearly in the video, a passerby captured a photo from a different angle, proving that there were four.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been called in to investigate the case.
Referring to the termination, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey posted a Tweet on his mayoral account saying that “this is the right call.” Thousands of fellow Twitter users responded, pushing for the officers to be “arrested and charged with murder.”
Via his personal Twitter account, Frey later said: “Four responding MPD officers involved in the death of George Floyd have been terminated. But we can’t turn a blind eye. George Floyd deserves justice. The Black community deserves justice. His friends and family deserve Justice.”
“There are precedents and protocols sitting in the reserves of institutions like this one that will give you about a thousand reasons not to do something. To not speak out. To not move so quickly,” continued Frey. “If most people, particularly people of color, had done what a police officer did late Monday, they’d already be behind bars. That’s why today I’m calling on Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman to charge the arresting officer in this case.”