Newly-released bodycam footage from two police officers who interacted with George Floyd offers the most comprehensive documentation yet of the events leading up to his arrest and death.
Published Monday by the Daily Mail after it was leaked to the outlet, bodycam footage from Officers Thomas Lane, 37, and Alex Kueng, 26, shows the officers approaching Floyd’s vehicle after responding to a call that he was allegedly using counterfeit money at Cup Foods.
Floyd is immediately distressed, agitated, and uncooperative with the officers, who demand he open his door and show them his hands. When he does not immediately show both hands, Lane pulls a handgun and points it at Floyd’s head. When Floyd places his hands on his head, Lane holsters the weapon. In the car with Floyd is his ex, Shawanda Hill, and a friend, Maurice Hall.
When Lane orders Floyd out of his car, Floyd says, “Okay, Mr. Officer, please don’t shoot me. Please, man.” Lane assures him he won’t shoot him, but Floyd begins sobbing and telling them how he “just lost my mom,” who died two years prior. Floyd continues to behave erratically as officers tell him to stop resisting arrest.
Lane then asks passengers Hill and Hall, “Why’s he being all squirrelly and not showing us his hands and just being all weird like that?” To which Hill responds that Floyd had been shot before and was scared by the gun aimed at him.
“Well, I get that,” Lane says. “But still, when officers say: ‘Get out of the car…’ Is he drunk? Is he on something?” Lane asks Hill, who answers, “No, he’s got a thing going on, about the police,” Hill says, pointing to her head and gesturing to indicate that Floyd has mental issues.
The footage then depicts Floyd yelling out in pain and struggling to walk across the street toward the police vehicle, for which reason the officer asks him if he is under the influence of a substance. Floyd also refuses to get inside of the vehicle because of claustrophobia. “Please man,” he says. “Don’t leave me by myself man, please. I’m just claustrophobic.” At one point he says he would rather lie on the ground.
“Well, you’re still going in the car,” says Lane, who promises to stay with him and leave the windows open.
“Y’all, I am going to die in here,” Floyd says. “I’m going to die, man. I just had COVID, man. I don’t want to go back to that.”
Lane goes over to the other side of the car to pull Floyd into it. Floyd begins yelling and repeatedly claiming he “can’t breathe.” After a struggle between Floyd and several officers, Floyd ends up on the ground beside the vehicle as Officer Derek Chauvin, 44, places his knee on his neck. Chauvin would go on to hold his knee on Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes, as shown in widely-publicized video that led to violent protests nationwide.
Chauvin was charged with Floyd’s murder and the other three officers on the scene were charged with aiding and abetting murder.