[Trigger warning for extremely graphic and disturbing content.]
After months of protests, newly leaked footage is giving a clearer picture of the death of George Floyd.
As most of us are probably aware, Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police was the impetus for a new wave of Black Lives Matter protests across the country and around the world. His name became a rallying cry against police brutality, joining the likes of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, and too many others who lost their lives to state-sanctioned violence. Since his death, protesters have also taken up the cause for Breonna Taylor and Tony McDade.
Demonstrations that began in Floyd’s name have escalated into some of the most disturbing and shocking images in our nation’s history — police teargassing protesters with abandon, badgeless, unidentified federal officers occupying US cities, young trans activists being abducted by cops in unmarked vans. It’s a painful moment for a country already experiencing a devastating pandemic, but it’s a hopeful one, too, as activists in all 50 states fight together for reform.
Now, more footage from the event that will live forever in US history has been leaked and obtained by DailyMail.com. We have decided to post it in its entirety (above).
Transcripts from the footage, which come from the body cams of the first officers at the scene, Alex Kueng and Thomas Lane, had previously been made available to the public. And of course, the case originally went viral from witness videos which clearly showed Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck.
With the amount of information we already have, this new footage (confirmed by NBC News as the same video shown during during pre-trial hearings for the officers) simply provides greater context to the tragic murder. Lane can be seen pointing his gun at Floyd’s head shortly after approaching his car; Kueng can be seen picking at a pebble in the police vehicle’s wheel while restraining Floyd’s legs in the moments leading up to his death. (Both were rookie cops in their first week on the job when the incident occurred.) The footage throws into stark relief the callousness and lack of empathy of all four officers, and the fear and anguish Floyd experienced in his final moments.
Ordinarily we would not post a video as violent as this, but in this case the news content is too important. Sure, you could have read about Floyd begging the police not to put him in the car and actually saying the words aloud, “I’ll probably just die this way.” But it’s just not the same as looking into this man’s eyes and seeing the fear of someone who knows, despite his minor legal transgression, he is walking into a likely death sentence. No judge, no jury, but he knows he is on death row, about to be executed by these men who tarnish the title of officer of the peace.
Again, you can see the footage for yourself (above).