Four Minneapolis officers involved in the arrest of a black man who died in police custody were fired Tuesday, hours after a bystander’s video provoked widespread outrage with footage that showed the man pleading that he could not breathe as a white officer knelt on his neck.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey tweeted about the firings, saying, “This is the right call.”
Several hundred protesters gathered early Tuesday evening in the street where George Floyd died, chanting and carrying banners that read, “I can’t breathe” and “Jail killer KKKops.”
The man’s death Monday night after he struggled with officers was under investigation by the FBI and state law enforcement authorities. It immediately drew comparisons to the case of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man who died in 2014 in New York after he was placed in a chokehold by police and pleaded for his life, saying he could not breathe.
Frey apologized to the black community early Tuesday in a post on his Facebook page.
“Being black in America should not be a death sentence. For five minutes, we watched a white officer press his knee into a black man’s neck. Five minutes. When you hear someone calling for help, you’re supposed to help. This officer failed in the most basic, human sense,” Frey posted