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Police Bodycam Video Shows George Floyd's Distress During Fatal Arrest

A memorial lives where George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis on May 25 while in police custody.
A memorial lives where George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis on May 25 while in police custody.

Police body camera footage of George Floyd's final minutes of life show him telling Minneapolis police officers that he's claustrophobic and pleading with them not to put him in the back of a squad car.

Floyd displays signs of distress as officers try to force him into the back of the vehicle, telling them he can't breathe and volunteering to lie on the ground instead.

The body camera footage from former officers J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane was made available for in-person viewings Wednesday by Hennepin County District Court, providing a fuller picture of the fatal arrest.

It's the first time the body camera footage of Floyd's killing has been seen, although the court has previously released transcripts of the footage.

"Let me see your hands"

Kueng and Lane arrived at Cup Foods at 38th Street and Chicago Avenue in south Minneapolis shortly after 8 p.m. on Memorial Day after reports that someone tried to pass counterfeit money.

They briefly talk to the store manager, who points out a truck across the street. Lane takes out his flashlight as he crosses 38th Street. He taps on the truck's front driver's side window with the flashlight, and Floyd is startled.

"Let me see your hands," Lane tells Floyd. Floyd is moving around in the vehicle and apologizing to the officer, who swears at Floyd and demands to see his hands. Lane draws his gun and points it at Floyd, who tells him that he got shot the "same way by another police officer before," and begs Lane not to shoot him, telling the officer that he just lost his mom.

Lane tells Floyd to get out of the car, pulls Floyd's hands behind his back and cuffs him just about two minutes after he'd approached the vehicle.

Kueng escorts Floyd over to a nearby wall and tells him to sit on the ground while Lane interviews the passengers in the truck he was driving. They say they were just getting a ride from Floyd.

"I'm not trying to win"

The two officers lead Floyd across the street toward the squad car, search his pockets and then try to convince him to sit down in the squad.

Floyd tells them that he just got over COVID-19, that he's claustrophobic and has anxiety. Floyd begs the officers not to put him in the back, at one point telling them he'll get into the squad if they let him count to three.

A man on the street tells Floyd, "You can't win," and that he should just get in the car.

Floyd responds, "I'm not trying to win."

About a minute later, Kueng tries to push Floyd into the squad while Lane pulls him from the other side. Floyd is splayed across the back seat, frantic and yelling. At least twice while being forced into the squad, Floyd says, "I can't breathe," and tells the officers he'll lie on the ground instead.

Officer Derek Chauvin arrives on Lane's side of the car. Floyd's body comes out of the car — it's not clear from the video if he's pulled out or pushes himself out — and he goes to the ground near the squad's back tire.

Chauvin kneels on his neck, even as bystanders gather and yell that they're killing Floyd. Floyd calls out "mama" repeatedly — his family has said she died about two years ago.

"Just leave him"

Lane asks multiple times whether they should roll him on his side, but Chauvin says to "just leave him." Kueng checks Floyd's pulse, and says "he can't find one."

Several minutes after Chauvin put his knee on Floyd's neck, an EMT arrives and Chauvin gets up.

The officers help the EMT get Floyd onto a stretcher. Lane rides with him in the ambulance for a few blocks, giving Floyd chest compressions as EMTs prepare their treatment. The officer later gets a ride back to 38th Street and Chicago Avenue in a fire truck.

Chauvin's body camera had come loose as he restrained Floyd on the ground. Kueng recovered it from under the squad.

After the ambulance drives Floyd's body away, Kueng takes a report from the store owner about the counterfeit $20 bill. As a crowd begins to gather outside the store, the manager tells Kueng, "People are silly. I don't know why they're messing with you."

Kueng asks Chauvin for an evidence envelope for the counterfeit bill. Chauvin asks whether Floyd was in the vehicle police were securing.

This story was originally published by MPRNews.

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