US & Canada

George Floyd: Officer told dying man to 'stop yelling'

George Floyd Image copyright Twitter/Ruth Richardson
Image caption George Floyd repeatedly told the police officers who detained him that he could not breathe

The US police officer accused of George Floyd's murder told him to stop talking as he repeatedly gasped under the man's knee, according to court documents.

The unarmed black man cried out for his late mother and children as he said the Minneapolis policeman would kill him, transcripts from body-cam footage show.

They were disclosed in court by lawyers for one of the four officers involved.

The documents offer the clearest picture yet of Mr Floyd's last moments. His death in May sparked global uproar.

It led to a wave of anti-racism protests led by the Black Lives Matter movement, and stirred debate and reflection in the US over the country's history of slavery and segregation.

All four officers involved in taking Mr Floyd into custody were fired and arrested. Derek Chauvin, who knelt on his neck, faces several charges including second-degree murder, while the other three - Thomas Lane, J Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao - are charged with aiding and abetting murder.

The transcripts were made public on Thursday as Mr Lane's lawyers asked for the case against him to be dismissed.

Warning: Some readers may find the content below distressing.

What do the transcripts show?

Until now, eyewitness footage shared on social media revealed most of what was known about Mr Floyd's arrest and his final moments.

The new transcripts give a more detailed account, shedding light on significant parts of the encounter, from the time Mr Lane and Mr Kueng arrived at the scene, to the point where Mr Floyd was given CPR in an ambulance.

Transcripts of footage recorded by body cameras fitted to Mr Lane and Mr Kueng show Mr Floyd said more than 20 times he could not breathe as he was restrained by the officers in a Minneapolis street.

They confronted him outside a convenience store where he was suspected of having used a forged $20 note to buy cigarettes.

At one point, a handcuffed Mr Floyd, while pinned down on the road next to the police car, gasps that he cannot breathe, adding: "You're going to kill me, man."

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Media caption'I'm tired of being afraid': Why Americans are protesting

Mr Chauvin, who is shown in bystander footage appearing to kneel on Mr Floyd's neck for nearly eight minutes, replies: "Then stop talking, stop yelling.

"It takes heck of a lot of oxygen to talk."

The transcripts show Mr Floyd appears co-operative at the beginning of the arrest, repeatedly apologising to the officers after they approach his parked car.

Mr Lane asks Mr Floyd to show his hands at least 10 times before ordering him to get out of the vehicle.

In response to one of the demands to see his hands, Mr Floyd says: "Man, I got, I got shot the same way, Mr Officer, before." It is not clear what he is referring to.

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Media captionWhy monuments in the US are being taken down

At one point Mr Lane says: "Why's he getting all squirrelly and not showing us his hands and just being all weird like that?"

The officers then handcuff Mr Floyd and try to put him into the back of their police car. As they do, Mr Floyd becomes agitated, repeatedly pleading that he is claustrophobic.

Mr Lane asks if he is "on something". Mr Floyd replies: "I'm scared, man."

According to another document, Mr Lane told investigators that once in the car, Mr Floyd began "thrashing back and forth".

When asked "So he pushed himself out of the car?" Mr Lane replied: "Yeah".

The investigator then asks: "Versus you guys pulling him out of the car?" and Mr Lane says: "Yeah, because the goal is to keep him in the car, we didn't want him coming out again."

Pinned on the ground, according to the transcript, Mr Floyd cries out a dozen times: "Mama."

He says: "Can't believe this, man. Mom, love you. Love you.

"Tell my kids I love them. I'm dead."

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Thomas Lane was just days into the job when the incident happened

At one point, when Mr Floyd continues to plead he can't breathe, Mr Lane asks Mr Chauvin: "Should we roll him on his side?"

Mr Chauvin responds: "No, he's staying put where we got him."

Mr Lane then says: "Okay. Just worry about the excited delirium or whatever."

Mr Chauvin replies: "Well that's why we got the ambulance coming," and Mr Lane says "Okay, I suppose".

Mr Chauvin's lawyers have not commented on the documents since they were made public.

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Media captionIn June Panorama spoke to local people to piece together the moments leading up to George Floyd's death

Why are the transcripts coming out now?

The transcripts were released in support of a legal bid to dismiss the criminal charges against Mr Lane, a new recruit only days into the job when Mr Floyd's death happened.

Mr Lane's lawyer Earl Gray, who filed the documents, argued that it was "not fair or reasonable" for his client to stand trial on the charges.

The new court documents include a transcript of Mr Lane's interview with investigators from Minnesota's Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

In the interview, Mr Lane talked through the first crucial moments of his encounter with Mr Floyd.

Mr Lane said he had pulled his gun out and ordered Mr Floyd to show his hands after approaching his car and seeing him "sitting with his hands down below the seat".

Pictures from inside the car Mr Floyd was sitting in before his arrest show two crumpled $20 bills that, according to Mr Gray, were counterfeit.

Image copyright Hennepin County District Court
Image caption Mr Lane's lawyer said two fake $20 bills were found in the car Mr Floyd was sitting in

At the end of the interview, one of the investigators asked Mr Lane if he felt either he or Mr Chauvin had contributed to Mr Floyd's death.

"I object to that. You're not going to answer that," Mr Gray said.

What has happened since Mr Floyd's death?

The incident and the bystander videos that exposed it highlighted deep wounds over racial inequality in the US. For many, the outrage over Mr Floyd's death also reflected years of frustration over socio-economic inequality and discrimination.

Protests erupted and have continued since, across many US cities and also internationally.

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Media captionPresident Trump posed for a photo op outside a church, moments after protesters were cleared by police

Police forces, governments and businesses pledged reforms in recognition of the racial inequality that fuelled the protests.

Monuments to historical figures with links to slavery in the US and other countries were re-assessed. Some were toppled or vandalised, others were taken down by authorities and institutions.

Mr Floyd's death followed the high-profile cases of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; Eric Garner in New York; and others that have driven the Black Lives Matter movement in recent years.


More on the US protests


US protests timeline

George Floyd dies after police arrest

Tributes to George Floyd at a makeshift memorial
Image caption Tributes to George Floyd at a makeshift memorial Image copyright by Getty Images

George Floyd dies after being arrested by police outside a shop in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Footage shows a white officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeling on Mr Floyd’s neck for several minutes while he is pinned to the floor. Mr Floyd is heard repeatedly saying "I can’t breathe". He is pronounced dead later in hospital.

Protests begin

Demonstrators in Minneapolis
Image caption Demonstrators in Minneapolis Image copyright by AFP

Four officers involved in the arrest of George Floyd are fired. Protests begin as the video of the arrest is shared widely on social media. Hundreds of demonstrators take to the streets of Minneapolis and vandalise police cars and the police station with graffiti.

Protests spread

Protesters lie on the streets in Portland, Oregon
Image caption Protesters lie on the streets in Portland, Oregon Image copyright by Reuters

Protests spread to other cities including Memphis and Los Angeles. In some places, like Portland, Oregon, protesters lie in the road, chanting "I can’t breathe". Demonstrators again gather around the police station in Minneapolis where the officers involved in George Floyd’s arrest were based and set fire to it. The building is evacuated and police retreat.

Trump tweets

President Trump tweets about the unrest
Image caption President Trump tweets about the unrest Image copyright by Reuters

President Trump blames the violence on a lack of leadership in Minneapolis and threatens to send in the National Guard in a tweet.  He follows it up in a second tweet with a warning "when the looting starts, the shooting starts". The second tweet is hidden by Twitter for "glorifying violence".

CNN reporter arrested

Members of a CNN crew are arrested at a protest
Image caption Members of a CNN crew are arrested at a protest Image copyright by Reuters

A CNN reporter, Omar Jimenez, is arrested while covering the Minneapolis protest. Mr Jimenez was reporting live when police officers handcuffed him. A few minutes later several of his colleagues are also arrested. They are all later released once they are confirmed to be members of the media.

Derek Chauvin charged with murder

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin after being charged over the death of George Floyd
Image caption Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin after being charged over the death of George Floyd Image copyright by Getty Images

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, 44, is charged with murder and manslaughter. The charges carry a combined maximum 35-year sentence.

Sixth night of protests

Demonstrators set fire to rubbish in New York
Image caption Demonstrators set fire to rubbish in New York Image copyright by Reuters

Violence spreads across the US on the sixth night of protests. A total of at least five people are reported killed in protests from Indianapolis to Chicago. More than 75 cities have seen protests. At least 4,400 people have been arrested.  Curfews are imposed across the US to try to stem the unrest.

Trump threatens military response

Trump posing with a Bible outside a boarded-up church
Image caption Trump posing with a Bible outside a boarded-up church Image copyright by EPA

President Trump threatens to send in the military to quell growing civil unrest. He says if cities and states fail to control the protests and "defend their residents" he will deploy the army and "quickly solve the problem for them". Mr Trump poses in front of a damaged church shortly after police used tear gas to disperse peaceful protesters nearby.

Eighth night of protests

George Floyd’s family joined protesters in Houston
Image caption George Floyd’s family joined protesters in Houston Image copyright by Getty

Tens of thousands of protesters again take to the streets. One of the biggest protests is in George Floyd’s hometown of Houston, Texas. Many defy curfews in several cities, but the demonstrations are largely peaceful.

Memorial service for George Floyd

Mourners gather to remember George Floyd
Image caption Mourners gather to remember George Floyd Image copyright by Getty

A memorial service for George Floyd is held in Minneapolis.  Those gathered in tribute stand in silence for eight minutes, 46 seconds, the amount of time Mr Floyd is alleged to have been on the ground under arrest. Hundreds attended the service, which heard a eulogy from civil rights activist Rev Al Sharpton.

International protests

Protester addresses crowds in Australia
Image caption Protester addresses crowds in Australia Image copyright by Getty

As the US saw another weekend of protests, with tens of thousands marching in Washington DC, anti-racism demonstrations were held around the world.

In Australia, there were major protests in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane that focused on the treatment of indigenous Australians. There were also demonstrations in France, Germany, Spain and the UK. In Bristol, protesters tore down the statue of a 17th century slave trader and threw it into the harbour.

Funeral service for George Floyd

Pallbearers bring the coffin into the church
Image caption Pallbearers bring the coffin into the church Image copyright by Getty

A funeral service for George Floyd is held in Houston, Mr Floyd’s home town. Just over two weeks after his death in Minneapolis and worldwide anti-racism protests, about 500 guests invited by the Floyd family are in attendance at the Fountain of Praise Church.  Many more gather outside to show their support.

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