On Monday, May 25, 2020, George Floyd died while being apprehended by police. This post does not discuss any autopsy, as it was not available to review. All identifications of speakers and individuals in the video are my own using the linked videos.
What we know is that according to news reports, the police were called because Floyd attempted to pay for items with a counterfeit $20 bill. The event happened on the corner of Chicago Avenue and E 38th Street in Minneapolis Minnesota.
This is a heavy post, and a long one, but important. I write it because I haven’t seen these details elsewhere. Reader, be advised that there is obviously troubling content in this post and bad language.
What follows is a break-down of George Floyd’s death, paired with the surrounding situation, and the actions of the officers and paramedics as evidenced by as much un-edited video that I could find. I try to lay out all the facts that I can with as little commentary and links to see for yourself.
Use the links to check my work and see it for yourself.
The Evidence So Far
The first video is security camera footage from Funky Grits, across the street from Cup Foods. That video is available in this link.
George Floyd was arrested after officers approached the vehicle occupied by Floyd. Two officers get on either side of the SUV, and one officer seems to direct two passengers, a male and a female, out of the vehicle. Blocked from view is the officer who seems to ask George Floyd to exit the vehicle and then proceeds to place him in handcuffs. It is unclear whether any resistance at all was offered, although it can be observed that Floyd drops from his standing height to almost sitting on the street when being moved from the vehicle to the sidewalk. by this point, the passengers have exited the vehicle without incident and are no longer visible.
When George Floyd reaches the sidewalk, he is visibly upset (in an emotional sense), and he soon sits on the ground with his back to a wall, and speaks with the original arresting officer. At this point, a second police vehicle arrives at the scene. at this point. He has a short conversation with the original arresting officer. Soon thereafter, that officer helps him up from the ground (as he is handcuffed), and two officers walk with him across the intersection in the crosswalk to what appears to be the arresting officer’s patrol vehicle. His steps to not appear to be entirely steady, but he also does not appear to meaningfully resist this escort. While the distance and lens makes it difficult to see, it appears that George Floyd drops to the ground for an unknown reason. At this point, the security footage available ends.
What is notable is that the last place George Floyd is seen is on the sidewalk-side of the police vehicle. This is original door that the police use to try to put George Floyd in the car. The first two videos show George Floyd here on the driver’s side passenger door. The two other videos most viewed show George Floyd pinned on the street view, away from the sidewalk. There is no video evidence available at this time to show how George Floyd moved from one location to the other.
The body camera footage of the second officer to arrive on the scene is available here. The video is heavily redacted, apparently to protect the privacy of non-officers.
Before the 3:00 mark, the officer is heard saying “Stay here until we figure things out. Right now we’re grabbing an ambulance for your buddy.” Due to the lack of audio and redaction, it is unclear when or why this ambulance was called. However, from the timing, it appears that the officer said this approximately 1 1/2 minutes after George Floyd was escorted across the street and before George Floyd was pinned to the ground.
A cell phone video from a person crossing the crosswalk shows three officers subduing George Floyd on the ground. The sound and video quality is not excellent, but it can be seen at this link.
As the events between George Floyd moving from the sidewalk side of the care to the street side of the car are unknown, it is unknown why there are now three officers subduing George Floyd. It is also unclear when this video begins in relation to the police body camera video and the security camera. The officers appear to be attempting to keep George Floyd from moving, due to their efforts to adjust their weight and moving all at once. During this time, George Floyd appears to say “My face is gone” at the 0:20 second mark.
Throughout the video, George Floyd is verbalizing his discomfort and/or pain and can be heard saying “please let me stand.” Based on the fact that George Floyd is speaking and because it is clear that these words are not in the second and longer video, this 37 second video (provided by NBC) seems to be before the longer video of George Floyd’s death.
The most widely shared (and edited) video is this ten minute cell phone video. This video was taken at an unknown time after the first two videos. Notable audio from this video includes the videographer recognizing that he is crying on the ground with the knee on his neck. As early as the 0:15 second mark, George Floyd says “Please man! I can’t breathe!”
A bystander says “You got him down, bro, let him breathe at least, man” at the 0:41 second mark. After this point, there is some unknown conversation, and at 0:53 George Floyd claims that he is about to die. In response, the officer identified as Derek Chauvin says “Relax!” An officer standing by at the 1:00 mark asks “What do you want?” Floyd responds “I can’t breathe. Please! The knee on my neck! I can’t breathe S#*t” A bystander says “Get up and get in the car, man.” To which Floyd responds “I will!” And the bystander repeats “Just get up and get in the car!” Floyd says “I can’t move!” And the bystander responds “I’ve been watching the whole thing! Just get up and get in the car!” At this stage, Floyd viscerally cries in pain and calls “Mama!” The bystander says “Get up and get in the car right!” Floyd says “I can’t!” At this point, the video is at the 1:20 mark. During this time, two officers are not visible and the officer with his knee on his neck appears to be adjusting his weight and communicating with the other officers as he keeps his eyes on Floyd.
The conversation between George Floyd and the bystander continues. The bystander says “You can’t get [undetermined] to get in! I told you you can’t win!” Floyd says, “My knee! My neck!” The bystander continues, “You can’t win, man!” Floyd says “I’m through!” The bystander says “I know you is, man, but you didn’t listen!” At this point, the video is at 1:31, and Floyd says “I’m claustrophobic. My stomach hurts. My neck hurts. Everything hurts.” He continues expressing pain and then says “Get some water or something. Please. Please. I can’t breathe officer.” And grunts in pain. At this point, an unknown bystander, possibly the videoer, says “Shut up.”
The video is at 1:50. Floyd says “They’ll kill me. They’ll kill me man.” Several seconds pass, and Floyd continues to cry in pain and moves his head as he rolls his nose to the ground and the second bystander, possibly the videoer, says “His nose is bleeding, like come on!” The first bystander says “That’s wrong right there! Feet on his neck! Not even resisting arrest!” That is when a third bystander arrives and remarks about the “knee on his neck.” The first bystander then says “Yeah, you’ve got your feet right on his neck, officer.” The second bystander says “You having fun?” She is joined by the third bystander who says “You’re a tough guy. You’re a tough guy, huh? He’s not even resisting arrest, bro!”
The video is at 2:21. A conversation between the fourth observing officer (the only other officer on video) being speaking with the third bystander. He can be heard saying “I put him in the car!” The second bystander asks “How long you have to hold him down?” An unknown bystander voice says “That’s why you don’t do drugs kids.” The third bystander says “It ain’t about drugs, bro.” And disjointed conversation returns to the issue of the neck. The third bystander then says “He’s human! You could put him in the car.” The fourth officer then says “We tried that for ten minutes.” The third bystander replies, “That’s some bum ass shit, bro. Some bum ass shit. Like a ju-jitsu move, you’re trapping his breathing. You’re trapping his breathing there, bro. You think that’s what it is? You think nobody understands that shit, bro? I train at the academy, bro. That’s some bullshit, bro. That’s bullshit! That’s bullshit!”
The video is at 3:04. The protests of the bystanders continue, as one says “You’re fucking stopping his breathing there, bro.” The fourth officer says “He’s talking. It’s hard to talk–” The third bystander says, “Get him off the ground. You can get him off the ground, bro. You’re being a bum right now. He enjoying that! He enjoying that shit! You’re a fucking bum, bro! You could have fucking put him in the car by now. He’s not resisting arrest or nothing! You enjoying it! Your body language explains it! You fucking bum! ” A fifth bystander, a female, says “Look at him! Bro! Get off of him!” The second bystander says “It’s the whites. They love to mess with black people.” The third bystander says “You know that! I trained with half of these dumb ass bros at the academy, bro! You know that’s bogus right now, bro! He’s not even resisting arrest!” The second bystander once again notes “His nose is bleeding.” The third bystander states “You’re fucking stopping his breathing! Bro, you think that’s cool? You think that’s cool, though? Aw, man. What’s you’re– What’s your badge number, bro. You think that’s cool right there, bro?”
The video is at 4:20. At this stage, the officer identified as Derek Chauvin has not responded to any bystander and continues to direct his gauge at George Floyd’s face. His breathing has slowed, and he no longer appears to by crying in pain or moving. Chauvin is staring at him the entire time. At 4:25, George Floyd’s reduced movement is noticed by the bystanders who suddenly increase their volume and two shout “Get off of him!” “What is wrong w’ich y’all!” At 4:28, for an unknown reason, the officer identified as Derek Chauvin breaks his stare at George Floyd to pull something out of his belt. The camera quickly moves as the second bystander says “What the fuck! He got mace!” The third bystander says “I’m not scared of you bro” to the fourth officer. The fourth bystander calls one of the officers a pussy. The fourth officer attempts to keep others away and out of the street as the bystanders emotionally note “He’s not responsive right now.” A sixth bystander at this stage repeatedly asks “Does he have a pulse? Check for a pulse.” The view of Derek Chauvin is blocked by the car due to the video angle, as the fourth officer continues to direct bystanders away as he stands very close to the head of George Floyd. Chauvin can be seen putting the item (identified as mace by the bystanders) back in his belt. His gaze appears to be back at George Floyd’s face as the bystanders continue to demand that they check his pulse. An argument ensues between a woman who is now claiming to be a firefighter, videoing as well, who demands they check his pulse. The fourth officer orders the woman to get on the sidewalk, while questioning whether she is a firefighter. She affirms that she is a firefighter from Minneapolis. George Floyd does not appear to be moving as Chauvin continues to stare directly at his face as his hand is on his thigh in his pocket and his knee is in the same position. For the entire time, it is unclear where his weight is placed, though he has shifted around on several occasions, always with his eyes either on George Floyd, the other officers behind the police vehicle. In the video he has only twice to briefly look at bystanders or pull the item out of his belt when the bystanders approach. The woman who has claimed to be a firefighter along with the third bystander continue to demand his pulse be checked. The emotion is growing among the bystanders. Though the camera is not steady, George Floyd does not appear to move again. The third bystander says “Puuulse! Bro he has not moved one time!” A sixth bystander at this point approaches the third bystander and says “He’s off crack or now he’s prob’ly OD-ed.” The third bystander says “You don’t understand! Get back in the store! Okay, that’s cool! Go back in the store!”
The video is at 6:00 minutes. The conversation continues between the third bystander and the sixth bystander. “He’s not fucking moving!” “I see that! I see that!” “Bro, bro.” “I’m tryin’ to help y’all out!” “Bro, you don’t need to help me out, bro. I know your parents. I know everybody that runs that store. You don’t need to help me the fuck out bro. He’s not fucking moving right now, bro.” “I saw that, man.” “He was just moving when I walked up here.” “Yeah, yeah, yeah… ” “Bro.. you just got here-” “I’ve been watching it the whole time.” “You just got back out here, bro.” “They did that to him!” The sixth bystander in this conversation seems to be trying to ingratiate himself with the other bystanders. The third bystander then emotionally and disjointedly yells “He doesn’t have a– BRO! He’s not fucking moving!” Other bystanders join the coversation asking “Did they fucking kill him, bro?” The third bystander then tries to read Chauvin’s badge number and speak directly to him, saying “You’re a bum! The first thing you wanna grab is your mace, ’cause you’re scared, bro! Scared of fucking minorities, you bum!” Others shout to get off of him, and the man continues, “like three minutes, bro!”
At 6:45, a new set of officers arrive on the scene. These officers are in different uniforms, possibly sheriff’s deputies. The first thing the officer appears to do is come to George Floyd and gently reach for his head,. The shouts of the bystanders continue, and the fourth officer orders them off the street, which causes the camera view to stop. George Floyd is not moving. His face is lifeless. It is clear by this point the other officers are checking for a pulse.
Just after 6:57, the new officer briskly walks away after checking for a pulse. This unknown officer is possibly the last one to know if George Floyd is living or dead at this point. Derek Chauvin remains still and unmoved with his gaze still fixed on George Floyd’s face. Though they have not been shown by this video, it is clear the other officers have remained in their positions at his feet and torso, as well.
At 7:00, the third bystander continues to speak, “Bro, are you serious? You.. you gunna keep your thing on his neck? Yeah bitch.” The fourth officer attempts to direct bystanders away from the street. “Bro I dare you to touch me like that. Bro I swear I’ll slap the fuck out of both of y’all.”
At this point, the video is at 7:11, the ambulance first appears in the video. The third bystander continues speaking. “You gunna keep your thing on his neck like that? Tao, bro, you gunna let him kill that man right in front of you? Huh? Huh? Bro, he’s not even fucking moving right now, bro.” An unknown female bystander then says “He’s black. They don’t care. If they ain’t they people, they don’t care, bro.” “You just gunna sit there with his knee on his neck. You a real man for that, bro.” There are several shouts as the sixth bystander again speaks and says “Listen, I am a first responder from Minneapolis. The fact that you guys aren’t checking his pulse and doing compressions if he needs that, you guys are on another level!
At this point, the video is at 7:53. The paramedics are first seen in the video. The emotion rises as Derek Chauvin attempts to move the limp body of George Floyd from his chest to the stretcher by his arms as the paramedic tries to hold his head. They struggle to orient him correctly. The sixth bystander then says “And I have your nametag, bitch.” The fourth officer again yells for yet another bystander to get back from the street. George Floyd is on the stretcher. An unknown bystander says “Don’t touch me!” And an argument ensues between the fourth officer and the second bystander, possibly the videoer, about who touched who.
At this point, the video is at 8:23. George Floyd is being rolled in the stretcher. The arguments continue between the fourth officer who is keeping the crowd on the sidewalk and the second and third bystanders. The voice of the first bystander is once again heard. It is unclear who is talking to who. The first bystander says “You wrong there, bro.” And he and the third bystander continue speaking. It is unclear at whom their words are directed. The first bystander is heard saying “You wrong how you comin’ at people. You wrong how youc omin’ at people.” It is unclear to whom these words are directed. The fourth officer is standing in the street trying to keep the crowd back as George Floyd is loaded into the ambulance. The third bystander continues to taunt the fourth officer by saying “You such a man bro.” An unknown woman seems to laugh for an unknown reason, possibly as a part of a taunt.
At 8:54 in the video, the officer identified as Derek Chauvin comes to the fourth officer (once called “Tao” by the third bystander) and touches him with his hand to direct him away from the crowd and back towards the paramedics.
At 9:00 in the video, the door of the ambulance can be heard thumping shut. The two officers walk away.
At 9:30 in the video, the ambulance drives away with lights but no sirens. Based on this, it is possible that George Floyd is already dead.
The bystanders continue to verbally confront the officers, blaming them for the death of George Floyd. Derek Chauvin leaves without saying a word. The fourth officer asks some other officers about items in the vehicle.
At 9:57 in the video, one of the passengers in the car can still be seen on the other side of the street. He does not appear to have been one of the bystanders.
The video ends at 10:00.
The legal and policy facts we know regarding these details may come in a second post. But I think that’s enough heavy stuff for one blog post.
Operator: 911 what’s the address of the emergency?
Caller: This is ah 3759 Chicago AV.
Operator: How can I help you?
Caller: Um someone comes our store and give us fake bills and we realize it before he left the store, and we ran back outside, they was sitting on their car. We tell them to give us their phone, put their (inaudible) thing back and everything and he was also drunk and everything and return to give us our cigarettes back and so he can, so he can go home but he doesn’t want to do that, and he’s sitting on his car cause he is awfully drunk and he’s not in control of himself.
Operator: Okay, what type of vehicle does he have?
Caller: And…. um he’s got a vehicle that is ah…ah he got a vehicle that is ah…one second let me see if I can see the license. The driver license is BRJ026.
Operator: Okay, what color is it?
Caller: It’s a blue color. It’s a blue van.
Operator: Blue van?
Caller: Yes, van.
Operator: Alright blue van, gotcha. Is it out front or is it on 38th ST?
Caller: Ah it’s on 38th ST.
Operator: On 38th ST. So, this guy gave a counterfeit bill, has your cigarettes, and he’s under the influence of something?
Caller: Something like that, yes. He is not acting right.
Operator: What’s he look like, what race?
Caller: Um, he’s a tall guy. He’s like tall and bald, about like 6…6‐1/2, and she’s not acting right so and she started to go, drive the car.
Operator: Okay so, female or a male?
Operator: Is it a girl or a boy?
Caller: (Talking to somebody else)—he’s asking (inaudible) one second. Hello?
Operator: Is it a girl or a boy that did this?
Caller: It is a man.
Operator: Okay. Is he white, black, Native, Hispanic, Asian?
Caller: Something like that.
Operator: Which one? White, black, Native, Hispanic, Asian?
Caller: No, he’s a black guy.
Operator: Alright (sigh).
Caller: How is your day going?
Operator: Not too bad.
Caller: Had a long day, huh?
Operator: What’s your name?
Caller: My name is [Redacted].
Operator: Alright [Redacted], a phone number for you?
Operator: Alright, I’ve got help on the way. If that vehicle or that person leaves before we get there, just give us a call back, otherwise we’ll have squads out there shortly, okay?
Caller: No problem.
Operator: Thank you.
We now have new video of the police trying to place George Floyd into the police vehicle. It appears the George Floyd is resisting and failing to let the officers do so. We also get a view of what appears to by Bystander 1 speaking to either George Floyd or the officers at this time. Based on the famous cell-phone video, it may be that this bystander is pleading with George Floyd not to resist.
The time stamps hows this to take place between 8:15 and 8:17 PM on Monday, May 26, 2020. According to the Complaints, George Floyd was on the ground in the place we all have seen between 8:19:38PM and 8:27:28PM.