George Floyd’s sister, who died after a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on the back of his neck for at least eight minutes, said firing the police officers involved was not enough – she wanted them to be charged.
“I want these officials to be charged with murder for doing exactly that. They murdered my brother; he cried for help,” said Bridgett Floyd on Wednesday’s “TODAY” show, adding that the loss her brother was “heartbreaking” for her family.
The video of the Monday evening incident showed a white cop with his knee on Floyd’s neck when Floyd pleaded, “Please, please, please, I can’t breathe.”
Spectators asked the officer to remove his knee before and after Floyd fell silent. The officer did not move for at least eight minutes. At this point the paramedics carried Floyd away. He was later pronounced dead.
Minneapolis police said in a statement early Tuesday that officials responded to a counterfeit report when Floyd “physically resisted” and that he died after “suffering from medical need”.
However, civil rights lawyer Benjamin Crump, who represents Floyd’s family, said that videos made immediately after the incident and further footage of surveillance cameras and bystanders tell a different story.
“They’re watching the video and it doesn’t appear to be a threat to police officers and they didn’t have to use lethal excessive force,” Crump said on CNN Tuesday night.
“It’s worse than Eric Garner in many ways because you can even hear people pleading with them: ‘Please take your knee off his neck. Have some humanity; this is a human being,” said Crump on “TODAY”.
Crump said that without a video, he believed the police “swept it under the carpet.”
Instead, the four officials involved were released, Mayor Jacob Frey tweeted Tuesday afternoon.
Hundreds of demonstrators filled the intersection where Floyd was pinned on Tuesday night with banners that said “I can’t breathe” and “KKKops prisoner of war”.
Emotions and tensions increased as the demonstrations became unruly, windows damaged, graffiti sprayed and a police car destroyed. Officers in combat equipment confronted protesters and fired tear gas.
They later marched to a police station, where they were confronted by officers in combat equipment and used tear gas and fired projectiles. Some demonstrators kicked canisters back to the police.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the FBI both investigate Floyd’s death independently.
Bridgett Floyd, who wore a shirt saying “I can’t breathe” during her “TODAY” appearance, said, “I don’t need to be suspended and able to work in another state or county. Your licenses should be taken are gone, their jobs should be taken away, and they should be jailed for murder. “
She added that she was confident that the officials would be charged. “I have a lot of faith because I believe in the most powerful God. Faith is something that my brother and I have always talked about because he was a godly man,” said Floyd. “I believe that justice is served – I have enough trust to stand on it.”
Crump said he also hoped that Floyd’s death would act as a “turning point.”
“We have to say that everyone deserves the same justice and we have to send a message with this case. We cannot allow those who protect and serve us to do so,” said Crump. “There cannot be two judicial systems – one for black America and one for white America – we must have the same justice for the United States.”