Connect with us

U.S.

What We Know About the Death of George Floyd

Published

on

Photo Credit: The Offices of Ben Crump Law – Richard Tsong-Taatarii/The Star Tribune

  • A viral video shows a white police officer kneeling on the throat of George Floyd, a black man who was declared dead at a hospital shortly after the incident Monday.
  • A police statement detailing the event erroneously claimed that officers “noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress” and called for an ambulance.
  • However, the video shows the officer kneeling on Floyd’s throat for at least 8 minutes, even after he became unresponsive, and only stopping when the ambulance arrived.
  • Police also claimed that Floyd “physically resisted officers,” but security footage seems to show that he complied with the arresting officers, at least initially.

Initial Police Report

A 46-year-old black man named George Floyd died Monday after a police officer pinned him to the ground and kneeled on his neck for several minutes outside a grocery store in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Most of what is currently known about the incident comes from a now-viral video taken by a bystander named Darnella Frazier, who posted it on her Facebook page late Monday night.

However, a statement released by the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) the same evening titled “Man Dies After Medical Incident During Police Interaction” painted a drastically different picture.

According to that statement, just after 8 p.m., police responded to a “report of a forgery in progress” involving a suspect that “appeared to be under the influence.” Two officers arrived on the scene, located the suspect in his car, and ordered him to step out.

The suspect allegedly “physically resisted officers,” though they managed to get him into handcuffs. However, the statement goes on to say that during that process, the officers “noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress,” and called for an ambulance.

“He was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center by ambulance where he died a short time later,” MPD said, before noting that no weapons were used by anyone involved in the incident.

Video Version of Events

By early Tuesday morning, Frazier’s video was being shared all over social media, casting serious doubts and prompting widespread outrage over the version of events as told by the police.

The 10-minute video begins with Floyd being pinned down beside a police car by a white police officer who has his knee on his neck. Throughout the whole episode, another officer stands by him. Two other officers were also at the scene.

While the MPD has not identified any of the four men present, an attorney for the officer that is seen in the video with his knee in Floyd’s neck later identified him as 44-year-old Derek Chauvin. Several outlets have identified the officer who remains by him as Tou Thao.

Floyd is heard crying out, repeatedly begging the officer to stop. “Please. Please. I can’t breathe. Please,” he says over and over. 

A bystander approaches Chauvin from several feet away, urging him to get off of Floyd. “You got him down, man,” he says. “Let him breathe at least, man.” 

Floyd again says that he can’t breathe. Thao says “he’s fine.” Chauvin tells Floyd to “relax.”

At one point Floyd calls out for his mother.

“My stomach hurts. My neck hurts. Everything hurts,” he cries. “I want some water or something. Please. Please. I can’t breathe. They gonna kill me. They gonna kill me man.”

More bystanders start asking the police to stop, with one pointing out that his nose is bleeding, seemingly from having his face pushed into the cement road.

“You having fun?” some asks angrily.

“I cannot breathe,” says Floyd. “I cannot breathe.”

Shortly after, the bystanders escalate their calls, yelling at Chauvin to stop.

“Bro, why you just sitting there? He ain’t doing nothing,” one person shouts. “Just put him in your car!”

“They’ll kill me. They’ll kill me,” Floyd can be heard saying over the din.

“He’s still talking. He’s fine,” Thao responds to the crowd.  

“Bro, he ain’t fine,” says one of the more vocal bystanders. “You’re fucking stopping his breathing right there bro.”

“Man, I Can’t breathe,” Floyd says.

“Okay, he’s talking,” Thao says again.

About four minutes into the video, Floyd becomes unresponsive. The bystanders’ yells intensify, and Chauvin pulls something off his belt that prompts someone in the crowd to call out: “What the fuck, he got mace. He got mace.”

Several bystanders repeatedly ask the police to check Floyd’s pulse. They refuse.

“How long am I going to have this conversation?” Thao asks.

The crowd’s calls escalate for the next few minutes. They say that he is not moving, and that Chauvin is killing him.

Meanwhile, Chauvin still has his knee on Floyd’s neck the whole time, and he continues to keep it there almost four minutes after Floyd becomes unresponsive. He only takes his knee off Floyd’s neck when an ambulance arrives and Floyd is loaded onto a stretcher.

According to the medical examiner, Floyd was pronounced dead at 9:25 p.m. on Monday at Hennepin County Medical Center.

Washington Post Releases Security Footage

From the video, it is evident that there are several jarring discrepancies between the official account of the police and what actually happened.

 The MPD statement said that Floyd “appeared to be suffering medical distress.” It does not say anything about whether the “medical distress” was caused or worsened by a police officer putting his knee on Floyd’s throat for around eight minutes.

In fact, the statement says nothing at all about the officers restraining Floyd other than that they eventually managed to get him into handcuffs.

On Tuesday evening, the Washington Post published security footage provided by the owner of a nearby restaurant that appears to contradict the claim that Floyd resisted arrest, at least at the beginning of his encounter with the police.

The footage shows two officers walking up to a car. Two people seemingly sitting in the passenger seat and the back seat get out and go stand on the sidewalk. Shortly after that, the officers removed Floyd from a car handcuffed.

An officer then walks him to the sidewalk and sits him down against a wall. There is no audio, so it is unclear what Floyd is saying, but he does not appear, at least physically, to be resisting arrest.

Another police car pulls up, and after a few minutes, the officers walk Floyd across the street and open a door on a police car before the footage cuts out.

Officers Fired and Official Response

Just hours after Frazier’s video started to spread Tuesday morning, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey announced on Twitter that all four officers involved in the event had been fired.

“Being Black in America should not be a death sentence,” Frey said in a later statement. “What we saw is horrible. Completely and utterly messed up.”

“The man’s life matters. He matters. He was someone son. Someone’s family member. Someone’s friend,” Frey continued. “He was a human being and his life mattered.”

Around the same time, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said in a statement that the F.B.I. was conducting a federal civil rights investigation into, and that the state bureau was also conducting its own investigation at the request of MPD.

In a separate statement, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office said that it was helping with the investigation.

“At the end of the investigation, the findings will be presented to our office for consideration of prosecution,” the statement added.

Response From Floyd’s Family and Lawyer 

While the firing of the four officers was widely applauded, many called for them to be charged and arrested.

Floyd’s family and their attorney have also demanded that more be done to the officers.

“They need to be charged with murder because what they did was murder,” Floyd’s cousin Tera Brown told CNN on Tuesday night. “And almost the whole world has witnessed that because somebody was gracious enough to record it… They need to pay for what they did.” 

“I feel those guys need to be put in jail,” George Floyd’s sister Bridgett Floyd told ABC. “They murdered my brother.”

Ben Crump, the lawyer representing Floyd’s family, also asked the public to call the District Attorney and demand the officers be arrested and charged.

Crump, notable, is also representing the family of Ahmaud Arbery, the 25-year-old black jogger who was shot and killed in Georgia in February.

As of writing, none of the four officers involved in Floyd’s death have been taken into custody.

Response on Social Media

In addition to Floyd’s family, thousands of people chimed in on social media to express their outrage over the wrongful death.

“The lack of humanity in this disturbing video is sickening,” Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz tweeted. “We will get answers and seek justice.”

“It is sickening to watch this black man be killed while helplessly begging for help,” wrote Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), who represents Minneapolis and it’s surrounding areas. 

“Black lives matter isn’t just a chant, it’s call for justice. It’s a call for our humanity to be recognized. This must stop. There needs to be an immediate DOJ investigation into this.”

Numerous people also drew comparisons between the deaths of Floyd and Eric Garner, the young black man who died in New York police custody in 2014 after a white officer put him in a chokehold and Garner, who was also filmed on a cellphone, repeatedly said “I can’t breathe.”

Many social media users also shared a photo of Colin Kaepernick, the NFL player who kneeled during the national anthem to protest police brutality, alongside a photo of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck.

The picture was shared by several prominent athletes, including basketball legend LeBron James. 

//www.instagram.com/embed.js

Former NFL wide receiver Nathan Palmer also shared the photo in a tweet. 

“So…don’t ask why he took a knee…they’re still killing BLACK MEN and getting away with this sh*t! I don’t condone starting a war but I think it’s clear what we need to start doing yo…” he wrote.

Kaepernick himself shared Palmer’s Tweet on his Instagram story.

Protests Break Out

While countless people took to social media, hundreds more took to the streets of Minneapolis on Tuesday afternoon and evening to protest.

The protests started out peacefully, with demonstrators meeting at the intersection where Floyd was killed chanting “I can’t breathe!” and “No justice, no peace!”

Around 6 p.m., the crowd moved to the 3rd Police Precinct where the protesters reportedly believed the officers involved were based.

When they arrived things quickly escalated. Several media outlets and the police claimed that a small group of people began to vandalize the precinct and were quickly followed by others.

That prompted the police to show up in riot gear to fire tear gas and flash grenades into the crowds to disperse them. The confrontation went on late into the evening before the protestors dispersed due to a rainstorm.

See what others are saying: (The New York Times) (USA Today) (PBS News Hour)

U.S.

Conservatives are Mad at “Woke” Xbox for Minor Climate-Related Updates

Published

on

The fury comes after Xbox announced it was slightly altering existing consoles to better utilize and save energy.


Same War, New Battlefield

Mere days after M&M canceled their “spokescandies” due to backlash from the right, led largely by Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, conservatives have found a new front for their ongoing culture war: Xbox.

Carlson spent months complaining that small character redesigns were “woke” because they made the animated anthropomorphized M&M’s — in his own words — “less sexy.” His campaign finally proved successful on Monday when the company announced it would be doing away with the spokescandies and replacing them with actress Maya Rudolph.

Conservatives, now facing a sudden dearth of non-issues to complain about, quickly found a new issue to rage against. Xbox announced in a blog post earlier this month that it is making minor updates to lower its environmental impact as part of an effort to reach Microsoft’s goal of being carbon-negative by 2030.

Now, instead of having an Xbox wake up to update games, apps, and software during random times of the night, it will do that at a time of night when a user’s local energy grid is generating the most power it can from renewable sources. 

Xbox also said it would automatically update some older consoles to a power-saving mode that aims to reduce electricity consumption when it is turned off — a feature that is already the default on newer consoles.

According to The Verge, the only difference for users is that an Xbox in power-saving mode takes around 15 seconds to boot up instead of doing so immediately as the console does in “sleep” mode. The change is a small price to pay for what the outlet described as “significant” energy savings.

Xbox Under Fire

To many leading conservative voices, the minimal shifts were just another example of “woke” culture. 

While discussing M&M’s spokescandies Tuesday morning, “Fox and Friends” co-host Ainsley Earhardt brought up Xbox’s new changes with Fox radio host Jimmy Failla.

“So Xbox has also announced that they’re going woke too, you know, because of climate change,” Earhardt said.

“I mean, it’s crazy what they’re doing, but we understand what this is. It’s not that it’s actually going to offset emissions, okay — the level of reduction is infinitesimal,”  Failla claimed, without evidence. “But they’re trying to recruit your kids into climate politics at an earlier age; make them climate conscious now.”

“Yeah, I didn’t think of that — you’re right, they’re going after the children,” Earhardt agreed, despite the fact that internal data from Microsoft shows just around 10% of Xbox owners are under the age of 18.

Other prominent conservatives also did their part to bait Americans into anger on social media, including America’s Foundation, which posted a tweet stating that “the woke brigade is after video games.”

The post linked an article from the right-wing website TheBlaze, which asserted that “Xbox will force gamers to power down to fight climate change.”  That, however, is false — Xbox has said users can switch back and change the settings any time they want

Still, top lawmakers continued to share the article and spread its false claims, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx.).

“First gas stoves, then your coffee, now they’re gunning for your Xbox,” he wrote in the post, which was flagged by Twitter and given an “added context” warning.

The same warning, however, was not placed in a very similar post by Rep. Troy Nehls (R-Tx.), who also shared the article.

“They want to take your guns. They want to take your gas stoves. And now they want to take your Xbox. What’s next?” he wrote.

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The Daily Beast) (VICE)

Continue Reading

U.S.

Washington State Launches Investigation Into Abuse at Private Special Ed. Schools

Published

on

Allegations include staff kicking a fourth-grader and dragging a child with autism around by his leg.


Abuse Allegations

Washington State’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) has launched an investigation into a system of private schools for kids with disabilities after ProPublica and the Seattle Times reported on allegations of abuse.

The series of articles focused on Northwest School of Innovative Learning (NWSOIL). NWSOIL is a set of private schools that serve 500 Washington public school students with serious disabilities. ProPublica and the Seattle Times found years of complaints from parents and school districts against NWSOIL alleging abuse, overuse of isolation rooms, and unqualified aides teaching instead of certified professionals.

One district claimed NWSOIL staff kicked a fourth-grader. Another alleged that a child with autism was dragged around by his thigh.

Many former NWSOIL employees also claim that they were pressured by their parent company to to enroll more students and skimp on basic resources, like staffing.

Investigation Launched

In a seven-page letter, OSPI reminded NWSOIL of its authority to revoke or suspend a school’s approval, meaning that it could shut NWSOIL down. 

“Given the serious nature of the allegations made in the articles, OSPI is examining what, if any, actions need to be taken with respect to Northwest SOIL’s approval to contract with Washington school districts,” Tania May, assistant superintendent for special education at OSPI, wrote in the letter.

OSPI has demanded any records of mistreatment, maltreatment, abuse, or neglect as well as documents pertaining to restraint or isolation of students and calls to the police. They are also seeking information about the student-to-teacher ratio and staff qualifications. 

In the letter, OSPI claims that all of this was previously unknown to them as well as to police, Child Protective Services, and local school districts. They are asking NWSOIL for an explanation as to why the allegations were not reported. 

NWSOIL defended itself in a public statement.

“Use of restraints and seclusion are always used as a last response when a student is at imminent risk of hurting themselves or others, it said. “We strongly deny any allegation that we understaff and/or pressure staff to increase admissions in order to maximize profits.” 

Washington state representatives are considering a reform bill that will give them more oversight on the publicly funded system of private special education schools. 

In this legislation, OSPI and at least one district that sends students to this program would be required to visit before approving the contract. It would also standardize district agreements with programs like NWSOIL, including financial safeguards to make sure funds are being used appropriately.

See the full series: (ProPublica) (The Seattle Times)

Continue Reading

U.S.

Mass Shootings in Half Moon Bay, Oakland Rock California

Published

on

Just since Saturday, at least 19 people have been killed and 17 have been injured in mass shootings in California.


California Sees Third Attack in Under a Week

Two California localities experienced separate mass shootings Monday, just days after an attacker killed 11 and injured nine others in a suburb of Los Angeles.

The first of the most recent shootings took place in Half Moon Bay, a small coastal town about 30 miles outside of San Francisco, where a gunman killed seven and critically injured an eighth at two different locations.

According to authorities, police were dispatched to the first location around 2:20 pm and found four people shot to death and a fifth victim also suffering gunshot wounds. Shortly after, three more people were found dead at another site nearby.

About two hours later, police discovered the suspect in his car in the parking lot of a San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office substation with a semiautomatic handgun in the vehicle that officials later confirmed he had purchased legally.

Sheriff Christina Corpus said the man was taken into custody “without incident” and is “fully cooperating.” He has been identified as a 66-year-old Half Moon Bay resident of Asian descent.

Currently, the gunman’s motive is unknown, but the Sheriff told reporters Monday that both of the locations he targeted were nurseries, and it has since been reported that they were mushroom farms.

“All evidence we have points to this being an instance of workplace violence. The Mountain Mushroom Farm, the first location, is where the subject was employed,” Corpus said in a press conference Tuesday, though she added that, so far, the “only known connection between the victims and the suspect is that they may have been coworkers.”

As of writing, it remains unclear why he targeted the second location. A mushroom farm called Concord Farms has told reporters that it was the site of the second shooting — which a law enforcement official confirmed to The Washington Post.

In a statement to the media, a spokesperson said the farm had “no past knowledge” of the alleged gunman or his possible motives. Little has been released about the victims, though Corpus said Tuesday they were all adults and a “mixture of Asian and Hispanic descent,” some of whom were migrants. 

Authorities had previously stated that, because people both live and work on the farms, children were among those who witnessed the shooting. However, on Tuesday, one official walked that back and said while children were indeed in the vicinity, police do not have information about specific witnesses.

Just hours after the violence in Half Moon Bay, seven people were injured, and one other was killed during a shooting at a gas station in Oakland. Very little has been reported about the incident, but police have said that the shooting was “between several individuals.”

Renewed Calls for Gun Control

Californians continue to reel from the rapid succession of mass shootings in a state known for its strict gun control laws.

According to Everytown for Gun Safety, a nonprofit that advocates against gun violence, the state ranks No. 1 in the country for gun law strength. An analysis led by the organization found that California has the sixth-lowest rate of gun ownership and the eighth-lowest gun death rate.

Many of California’s top lawmakers have argued that the state’s relatively low gun violence statistics emphasize the need for more federal regulations.

“The Second Amendment’s becoming a suicide pact,” Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) told CBS News in an interview.

“We’ll continue to find whatever loopholes we can and continue to lead the national conversation on gun safety reform. And the data bares out. It works. It saves lives,” he continued. “California’s 37% lower than the death rate of the rest of the nation, and yet, with all that evidence, no one on the other side seems to give a damn. I can’t get anything done in Congress.”

Following the Monterey Park shooting, U.S. Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Ca.), alongside other Democratic colleagues, introduced two gun control bills in the upper chamber. The first would ban assault weapons, while the second aims to raise the minimum age to purchase assault weapons from 18 to 21.

President Joe Biden quickly threw his support behind the measures, urging Congress to pass them.

“The majority of the American people agree with this commonsense action,” he said in a statement Monday. “There can be no greater responsibility than to do all we can to ensure the safety of our children, our communities and our nation.”

Editor’s Note: At Rogue Rocket, we make it a point to not include the names and pictures of mass murders, suspected mass murderers, or those accused of committing violent crimes who may have been seeking attention or infamy. Therefore, we will not be linking to other sources, as they may contain these details.

Continue Reading