Washington – The US Department of Justice granted the “highest priority” level on Thursday to the investigation into the death of African-American George Floyd at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, after strong protests in that city in the last hours.
“The Justice Department has prioritized the investigation and has assigned experienced FBI prosecutors and criminal investigators to the matter,” US Attorney Erica MacDonald and FBI Special Agent in Charge Rainer Drolshagen said in a joint statement.
The US Justice assured that it will carry out a “solid criminal” investigation into the death of Floyd, which occurred on May 25 after being arrested by a white police officer, which has revived the national debate on the excessive violence of the police forces against the black population of the country.
“The federal investigation will determine whether the actions of the former Minneapolis Police Department agents involved violated federal law,” added the investigators, who called for “calm” of the population while the investigations are ongoing.
The FBI referred to the agents as “ex” in that communication because the Minneapolis police force on Tuesday decided to expel the four officers involved in Floyd’s arrest and death.
Upon arrival at the scene after receiving a complaint about the use of a false ticket, on Monday, the police found the subject sitting inside his vehicle, and when he was ordered to leave, the arrest was resisted, according to the official version. , which adds that during the arrest, when the officers already had the man handcuffed and lying on his stomach, they noted that he presented “medical difficulties”.
In the video, taken by passers-by who stumbled upon the scene, the man is seen face down on the pavement and an agent on top of him squeezing his neck with one knee for several minutes, without changing his posture, despite the complaints being heard. of the detainee that he cannot breathe, until he seems to lose consciousness.
“I CAN’T BREATHE “
“Please, please, please, I can’t breathe. Please,” Floyd is heard addressing the officer, who continues to press his knee against his neck until minutes later an ambulance arrives and the detainee is put on a stretcher without showing signs of life.
This episode has caused thousands of people to take to the streets of Minneapolis to protest against the local police and local authorities, causing numerous material damages.
A soldier’s swift reaction averted what could have been a massacre, police said. Details in the video.
Given this situation, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed an executive order Thursday that activates the National Guard of that state “to help protect the safety of Minnesotans and maintain peace after the death of George Floyd.”
“It is time to rebuild. Rebuild the city, rebuild our justice system and rebuild the relationship between law enforcement and the people they must protect,” added Walz.
For his part, the mayor of Minneapolis, Democrat Jacob Frey, said Thursday that Floyd was “murdered for being black” and that “he would be alive today if he were white.”
“I am not a prosecutor, but let me be clear: the agent who arrested (Floyd) killed him,” Frey said in an interview with the US television network CBS.
PROTESTS AND LOOTS
These statements came hours after the protests in Minneapolis over the death of the 46-year-old African American, intensified on Wednesday night with confrontations and looting, as calls for the arrest of the agent responsible for the crime grew.
The protests in Minneapolis led to looting and the death of one person.
In the midst of a pandemic, thousands of people returned to the streets last night for the second day in a row in a series of protests that included rampages in the homes of the policeman who choked Floyd with his knee and the county attorney, and they became increasingly violent as the night wore on.
They also included clashes with the police, who fired tear gas and rubber bullets at various points in the city against the protesters, as well as the looting of a Target department store and a liquor store, and the burning of an auto parts store, among other incidents.
Another group of protesters went to the home of the agent directly implicated in Floyd’s death, Derek Chauvin, at whose entrance they marked the word “assassin” and other inscriptions in red paint until they were dispersed by riot officers.
The arrest of Floyd, who according to local media had been working as a security guard for a Minneapolis Latino restaurant and club for five years and was considered a peaceful and affable person, came about by a complaint that he had attempted to use a counterfeit 20 dollar bill. dollars in a supermarket.
Floyd’s repeated “can’t breathe” at the arrest scene has become the cry of protest that once again highlights police violence against African Americans in the United States.