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4 Minneapolis Police Officers Fired Over George Floyd Death

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Four Minneapolis police officers were fired Tuesday following the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died on Monday after an officer kneeled on his neck while he was handcuffed on the ground, shouting that he couldn’t breathe.

Police Chief Medaria Arradondo announced their terminations during a news conference. He did not publicly identify the officers.

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“It is the right decision for our city,” Mayor Jacob Frey said of the firings. “We’ve stated our values and ultimately we need to live by them.”

Bystander video that circulated on social media shows an officer who appears to be white pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck, while Floyd is pinned face-down on the street. Floyd can be heard repeatedly pleading with officer to get up.

“Please man, I can’t breathe,” Floyd says. “I cannot breathe. I cannot breathe.”

Within minutes, the video shows Floyd closing his eyes and no longer speaking. The officer appears to keep his knee on Floyd’s neck, even as onlookers begin shouting that he isn’t moving and demand that officers help him. The video shows a second officer nearby, looking in the direction of onlookers.

Police called for an ambulance but Floyd died shortly after arriving at a hospital, the Minneapolis Police Department said in a press release.

(Note: A still image from early in the video, before Floyd stops moving, is below.)

Video captured by a bystander shows a Minneapolis police officer pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck.

Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating Floyd’s death. The bureau said in a statement Tuesday that it will present its findings without recommendation to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office for review.

The FBI has opened a separate federal civil rights investigation into the matter at the request of the Minneapolis Police Department, Arradondo said.

Officers arrived at the scene Monday in response to a reported “forgery in progress,” police said in a statement that night. The suspect, police said, appeared to be under the influence and “physically resisted” officers.

The statement said no weapons were used during the encounter. It did not mention that an officer had pinned the man to the street by kneeling on his neck.

Attorney Ben Crump identified the man as George Floyd after announcing he had been retained by Floyd’s family to represent them.

“We all watched the horrific death of George Floyd on video as witnesses begged the police officer to take him into the police car and get off his neck,” Crump said in a statement. “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 non-violent charge.”

“We will seek justice for the family of George Floyd, as we demand answers from the Minnesota Police Department,” he added. “How many ‘white black’ deaths will it take until the racial profiling and undervaluing of black lives by police finally ends?”

A protest in response to Floyd’s death has been planned for Tuesday evening at the intersection where he was killed.

This story has been updated.

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Federal authorities reviewing police use of chokehold, death of Elijah McClain

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Federal authorities are reviewing whether a civil rights investigation is warranted in the 2019 death of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old Black man who died after Colorado police put him in a chokehold, officials said Tuesday.

Authorities are also examining reports that “multiple” police officers in the city of Aurora were placed on administrative leave amid allegations that photos showed them near the site where McClain died.

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In a joint statement, the Colorado U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the Denver FBI office said they made the unusual disclosures about the investigations because of “recent attention” to McClain’s Aug. 24 death.

Three officers involved in the case have been moved to “non-enforcement” duties.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis appointed a special prosecutor last week to investigate after the local district declined to file charges against the officers involved in McClain’s arrest. On Saturday, thousands of protesters gathered outside Aurora’s municipal building to demand justice, and on Monday, interim Aurora police chief Vanessa Wilson said that internal affairs officers were investigating the photos.

Wilson did not say what the photos showed or how many offers were placed on leave, and the department did not respond to a request for additional information.

McClain, a massage therapist and violinist, was stopped by police after walking to a Shell gas station to buy a drink. He was wearing a ski mask at the time — something he often did when he was cold, his family has said.

A 911 caller reported a suspicious person wearing a mask who looked “sketchy” while walking on a street north of central Aurora, a city of roughly 380,000 east of Denver. The caller told police that he hadn’t seen a weapon but the person might be a “bad man.”

Video of an encounter with three responding police officers shows McClain telling them that he’s an introvert on his way home.

“Leave me alone,” he says.

Police have said that McClain refused to stop walking and resisted contact. During a struggle that followed, police administered a chokehold. In the video, McClain can be heard saying that he “can’t breathe correctly.”

McClain suffered cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital after paramedics administered a sedative to calm him. He was later declared brain dead and taken off life support Aug. 30.

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Abbott issues statewide face covering requirement for Texans

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AUSTIN, Texas – Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statewide face covering requirement on Thursday as the coronavirus outbreak continued to worsen in Texas.

“Governor Greg Abbott today issued an Executive Order requiring all Texans to wear a face covering over the nose and mouth in public spaces in counties with 20 or more positive COVID-19 cases, with few exceptions,” the order read.

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Abbott’s order goes into effect 12:01 p.m. Friday and comes after weeks of resistance to insituting a statewide mandate. He had allowed cities or counties to require businesses to require masks.

“COVID-19 is not going away, in fact it’s getting worse. Now more than ever, action by everyone is needed until treatments are available for COVID-19,” Abbott said in a video released by his office. “We must do more to slow the spread without locking Texas back down.”

Exceptions include: anyone 10 or younger, people with health conditions that prevent them from wearing a mask, someone eating or drinking, someone doing outdoor activities or swimming.

People who are voting or working a polling site and people attending religious services are not mandated to wear a mask, but are “strongly encouraged.”

A verbal or written warning can be issued for a first-time violator of the facecovering requirement. A person’s second violation can result in a fine of up to $250. Local law enforcement can issue warnings and fines, but cannot arrest or jail people.

Abbott’s order also allows local officials to restrict certain outdoor gatherings of 10-plus people.

Abbott last week shut down bars and clubs in an effort to halt what he called a “massive spread” of the coronavirus. But his face covering order is the clearest sign that Texas is facing a massive challenge slowing the spread of COVID-19.

Texas’ case levels continued to skyrocket Wednesday as the state soared past 8,000 new confirmed infections in a single day for the first time. It was also the second deadliest day of the outbreak with 57 new deaths reported, bringing the total confirmed death toll to at least 2,481.

Nearly 7,000 people with COVID-19 are now hospitalized, meaning that Texas is starting July with nearly four times as many patients in hospital beds as on June 1.

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9 Racist Quotes From Woodrow Wilson

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#1. “The white men were roused by a mere instinct of self-preservation—until at last there had sprung into existence a great Ku Klux Klan, a veritable empire of the South, to protect the Southern country.”

#2. “Segregation is not a humiliation but a benefit, and ought to be so regarded by you gentlemen.”

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#3. “If the colored people made a mistake in voting for me, they ought to correct it.”

#4. “[Reconstruction government was detested] not because the Republican Party was dreaded but because the dominance of an ignorant and inferior race was justly dreaded.”

#5. “Off by themselves with only a white supervisor, blacks would not be forced out of their jobs by energetic white employees.”

#6. “The whole temper and tradition of the place [Princeton] are such that no Negro has ever applied for admission, and it seems unlikely that the question will ever assume practical form.”

#7. “Any man who carries a hyphen about with him carries a dagger that he is ready to plunge into the vitals of this Republic whenever he gets ready.”

#8. “In the matter of Chinese and Japanese coolie immigration, I stand for the national policy of exclusion. We cannot make a homogenous population out of people who do not blend with the Caucasian race… Oriental Coolieism will give us another race problem to solve and surely we have had our lesson.”

#9 “Now came multitudes of men of the lowest class from the south of Italy, and men of the meaner sort out of Hungary and Poland, men out of the ranks, where there was neither skill nor energy nor any initiative of quick intelligence, and they came in numbers which increased from year to year, as if the countries of the south of Europe were disburdening themselves of the more sordid and hapless elements of their population.”

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