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George Floyd Killing: Family Calls For Murder Charges As Protestors Clash With Police

Police shot tear gas at hundreds of demonstrators demanding justice after video of fatal encounter went viral.

A day after George Floyd died after being pinned to the ground by a Minneapolis police officer, hundreds gathered at the street corner where the fatal incident took place demanding justice. 

“We’re here to let them know this can’t be tolerated, there will be severe consequences if they continue to kill us this will not go on another day,” a protestor told Minneapolis station WCCO, as demonstrators chanted “It could have been me” and “I can’t breathe.” 

Floyd gasped for air and could be heard on video pleading as one of the arresting officers, knelt on his neck. 

That policeman was identified as Derek Chauvin, and he was one of four fired by the Minneapolis Police Department over Floyd’s death. Another officer at the scene was identified as Tou Thao, while the names of the other two have not yet been publicly released, according to station KTSP.

Demonstrators said they were pleased over the firing, but want the officers charged and convicted. “It’s real ugly. The police have to understand that this is the climate they have created, this is the climate they created,” another protester told the station.

John Thompson, a community activist and friend of Philando Castile, a man who’s fatal shooting was streamed live on Facebook by his girlfriend Diamond Reynolds in the Minneapolis suburb of Falcon Heights in 2016, told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, “Let’s be clear: This is murder,” he said. “I don’t want to be labeled the angry black man — I should be able to have that emotion. I’m angry. Wouldn’t you be?”

Police were called Monday (May 25) to investigate an alleged forgery. Officials told the Star-Tribune that Floyd was at first compliant, but then resisted and officers used force to apprehend him. Video at the scene contradicts this statement. 

The entire incident was caught on video and soon went viral on social media and spread almost simultaneously with news of a white woman in New York’s Central Park calling police on a Black man who was birdwatching and asked her to leash her dog.

The protest in Minneapolis moved through the streets of the neighborhood, turning toward the local police precinct. But as the crowd grew, police began firing tear gas at them.

The Star-Tribune reported that Floyd’s family is represented by attorney Benjamin Crump, who also represents the families of Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia and Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky.

“This abusive, excessive and inhumane use of force cost the life of a man who was being detained by the police for questioning about a nonviolent charge,” read a statement from Crump’s office.

In an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” he said Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes. 

In the same segment, Floyd’s sister Bridgett Floyd told GMA that the firings of the officers is “not enough” for her or the family. “I feel like those guys need to be put in jail,” she said. “They murdered my brother, they killed him. They don’t need to walk the streets and mess around and this happens to another family.

“They need to apply more pressure on these guys,” she continued. “Firing them is just not enough.”

At an emotional press conference, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey expressed his grief over Floyd’s death.

“What we saw was horrible, completely and utterly messed up,” Frey said. “This man’s life matters. He matters. He was someone’s son, someone’s family member, someone’s friend. He was a human being and his life matters. Whatever the investigation reveals, it does not change the simple truth that he should be with us this morning.”

Frey called on Hennepin County, Minnesota prosecutor Mike Freeman to criminally charge Chauvin with Floyd's death.

"There are precedents and protocols sitting in the reserves of institutions just like this one that would give you about a thousand reasons not to do something, not to speak out, not to ask so quickly, and I've wrestled with that more than anything else over the last 36 hours, with one fundamental question: Why is the man who killed George Floyd not in jail?" Frey said Wednesday afternoon (May 27) according to the Star-Tribune. "If you had done it or I had done it we would be behind bars right now and I cannot come up with an answer to that question."

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Editor's Note: This story has been updated.

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