Three videos piece together the final moments of George Floyd’s life
While many questions persist about George Floyd’s killing — namely why a Minneapolis policeman used lethal force while arresting Floyd — three videos help stitch together the last minutes of the 46-year-old’s life.
Details surrounding Floyd’s death continued to emerge Sunday as demonstrations erupted across the United States.
Protesters have chanted, “I can’t breathe” — among Floyd’s last words and a phrase embedded in the national conscience after New York police choked Eric Garner during a 2014 arrest, resulting in his death. Demonstrators also demand justice in the killings of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, and Ahmaud Arbery in Glynn County, Georgia.
In the most recent video showing Floyd’s final moments, Officer J. Alexander Kueng is seen struggling with someone in the back seat of a police SUV. What happened isn’t entirely clear from the video, but a police report says Floyd refused to get into a squad car during the May 25 encounter.
Kueng and Officers Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and Derek Chauvin have been fired. Chauvin — who knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes, according to a prosecutor’s statement of probable cause — faces charges of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. CNN has reached out to Chauvin’s attorney and the Minneapolis police union for comment.
Here is what the three videos show:
Video 1: The arrest
The first video, from a surveillance camera, shows Floyd in the driver’s seat of a vehicle when Lane and Kueng approach. Lane goes to Floyd’s window, while Kueng goes to the other side of the car, where a man is in the front seat and a woman is in the back, the video shows.
Employees of the Cup Foods across the street had reported Floyd tried to pass a counterfeit $20 bill, according to a prosecutor’s statement of probable cause to charge Chauvin. Lane draws his weapon and points it at Floyd, demanding he show his hands, the statement says, but the gun is not visible in the video.
Floyd puts his hands on the steering wheel and Lane holsters his gun, the statement says.
Seconds later, Lane pulls Floyd out of the car, the video shows. Police allege Floyd “actively resisted being handcuffed,” according to the probable cause statement, but Floyd’s vehicle is blocking the camera’s view.
Kueng, who is conversing with the other passengers, walks around the car to assist Lane. Lane then addresses the passengers, who are out of the car, as Kueng walks Floyd across the sidewalk and sits him down on the ground, the video shows. Floyd appears uncomfortable as he walks.
Kueng talks to Floyd for about a minute and a half, hands his notebook to an unidentified officer who had just arrived in a Minneapolis Park Police SUV and with Lane’s assistance lifts Floyd off the ground.
The pair walk Floyd across the street to a waiting squad car, where Floyd falls to the ground, the video shows. What happens next is unclear, as the officer in the park police vehicle makes a U-turn, blocking the camera’s view.
“Mr. Floyd stiffened up, fell to the ground and told the officers he was claustrophobic,” according to the probable cause statement.
Video 2: A struggle
The second video is short, about 20 seconds long, and comes from a Cup Foods security camera. Judging from the times provided in the probable cause statement and the timecode on the video, it appears to begin about five minutes after the other video ends.
In it, Kueng has his foot pressed against the curb while most of his body is obscured by the back door and the dark tint of the windows. Only one of his legs is visible.
He appears to be struggling with someone inside the car. His leg wobbles as Kueng braces against the curb, trying to maintain his footing.
Thao looks on but doesn’t assist, the video shows. Lane and Chauvin are on the other side of the police vehicle with the back door open.
Kueng gets out, runs around the back of the vehicle and Thao walks toward the open door, but Kueng doubles back and shuts the door.
Chauvin and Thao arrived after Floyd told officers he was claustrophobic, the probable cause statement says.
Citing Floyd’s size (6 feet tall, more than 200 pounds), the statement alleges the handcuffed Floyd struggled with officers, intentionally fell down, was “refusing to stand still” and told officers he wasn’t getting into the police vehicle.
Floyd told officers he could not breathe before “he went to the ground face down and still handcuffed,” the statement said.
Video 3: Knee on the neck
The third video, taken by a bystander, has been widely disseminated and likely played a large part in the protests across Minneapolis and the country.
Chauvin is seen at the back corner of the police SUV kneeling on Floyd’s neck as the face-down Floyd pleads with officers to release him. A voice from outside the frame tells Floyd repeatedly to get in the car and other witnesses repeatedly tell the officers to get off of him, the video shows.
“Kueng held Mr. Floyd’s back and Lane held his legs,” the probable cause statement said. “(Chauvin) placed his left knee in the area of Mr. Floyd’s head and neck. Mr. Floyd said, ‘I can’t breathe’ multiple times and repeatedly said, ‘Mama’ and ‘please,’ as well. (Chauvin) and the other two officers stayed in their positions.”
Floyd also says, “I’m through,” and repeatedly cries out in anguish, the video shows.
“My stomach hurts. My neck hurts. Everything hurts. I need some water or something, please. Please,” he says.
He tells the witnesses, “They’re going to kill me, man,” and then to the officers, “Don’t kill me.” Thao stands between the witnesses and the officers holding down Floyd.
Someone is heard saying, “This is why you don’t do drugs, kids,” to which one of the most vocal witnesses replies, “This ain’t about drugs, bruh.”
The officers told Floyd, “You are talking fine,” the probable cause statement said, and when Lane asked if they should roll Floyd on his side, Chauvin said he was staying put.
“I am worried about excited delirium or whatever,” Lane said, according to the statement.
“That’s why we have him on his stomach,” Chauvin replied.
Floyd stops moving — a point the witnesses seize upon, telling officers over and over to check his pulse. Kueng checks Floyd’s right wrist for a pulse and reports, “I couldn’t find one,” according to the probable cause statement.
Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes, the statement said, and he continued kneeling on Floyd’s neck for two minutes and 53 seconds after he became unresponsive.
Floyd was pronounced dead at a hospital, and the Hennepin County medical examiner wrote in a report that being restrained by police, underlying health conditions and “any potential intoxicants in his system likely contributed to his death.”
The report also says, “Police are trained that this type of restraint with a subject in a prone position is inherently dangerous.”
Correction: This story has been updated with the correct year in which Eric Garner died.