Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey (D) is publicly calling for charges against the former police officer who for at least eight minutes kneeled on George Floyd’s neck before Floyd died.
Authorities responded to a “forgery in progress” on Monday. After engaging with the suspect, an officer ended up pinning Floyd to the ground with his knee on Floyd’s neck.
On Tuesday, Frey announced that at least four Minneapolis Police Department officers were fired in connection with the incident. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is also looking into the incident on a possible civil rights violation.
On Wednesday, Frey asked, “Why is the man who killed George Floyd not in jail? If you had done it, or I had done it, we would be behind bars right now.”
“We cannot turn a blind eye,” Frey insisted. “George Floyd deserves justice.”
He also said that it appeared the officer who kneeled on Floyd’s neck simply ignored the man’s distress, as well as the gathering crowd’s demands to allow Floyd to breathe.
“In so many of these harrowing instances in which law enforcement tragically kills a member of our community, we are talking about split-second decisions,” Frey said. “Every one of which the officer could have turned back, every second of which he could have removed his knee from George Floyd’s neck, listened to the community around him clearly saying that he needs to stop.”
“Every one of which you heard George Floyd himself articulating the pain he was feeling and inability to breathe,” Frey continued.
Frey also added that he saw no reason for the officer to react in the manner in which he did.
“I saw no threat,” he said of Floyd. “I saw nothing that would signal this kind of force was necessary.”
Frey said that there is no question the officer should be charged in connection with Floyd’s untimely death.
“How could I not speak out when an offense took place that you or I or many other people through our city would have been behind bars if they did?” he said. “Yet this particular individual, this officer is not? … And by the way, black men have been put in prison before for far, far less.”
He then demanded that Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman file charges against the officer in question. The Hennepin County Attorney’s office did not immediately respond to an NBC News request for comment.
Floyd’s family is also calling for all officers involved in the incident to face charges.
Benjamin Crump, a prolific civil rights attorney who is representing Floyd’s family, said that the officer who kneeled on Floyd’s neck should be charged with murder.
Other officers involved in the encounter, he said, should be charged as accomplices in the man’s murder.
“They were supposed to protect and serve citizens like George,” Crump said in remarks about Floyd’s death. “We in black America, we are done dying at the hands of the people that are supposed to protect and serve us.”