Nearly 12 weeks after George Floyd was killed by the police in Minneapolis, inciting a wave of protests across the United States, a Minnesota county court has released police body camera footage of the episode to the public for the first time.
The New York Times has reviewed the full 65 minutes of footage, which was previously viewable only by appointment, and selected crucial moments that offer new information.
The footage fills in blanks, raises new questions and gives insight into both Mr. Floyd’s state of mind and how the police response to his apparent use of a counterfeit bill became a deadly encounter. It shows officers escalating the situation from the beginning of the arrest, Mr. Floyd begging not to be placed into a squad car and a repeated lack of care for Mr. Floyd’s health while he is restrained on the ground.
The footage was taken from the body cameras of Officers Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng, who detained Mr. Floyd on May 25. The camera of a third officer, Derek Chauvin, who appeared in widely viewed footage kneeling on Mr. Floyd’s neck, fell off during the arrest, and its footage has not been released. Mr. Lane, Mr. Kueng and a fourth officer, Tou Thao, have been charged with aiding and abetting murder, and manslaughter, while Mr. Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The officers were all fired after Mr. Floyd’s killing.
At 8:09 p.m., Mr. Lane can be seen approaching a car containing Mr. Floyd and two companions, Shawanda Hill and Maurice Lester Hall. Mr. Lane’s footage shows how quickly he seems to escalate the situation.
Mr. Floyd sits in the driver’s seat, and Mr. Lane taps his flashlight on the window. He asks Mr. Floyd to show his hands and taps again when Mr. Floyd does not comply.
When Mr. Floyd — who appears to be looking toward the passenger side where Mr. Kueng is standing — does not comply with the order, Mr. Lane taps again.
Mr. Floyd is visibly taken aback, and then apologizes while opening the car door.
Mr. Lane tells Mr. Floyd to show his hands three more times. Six seconds after the door opens, he draws his gun, points it at Mr. Floyd and says, “Put your [expletive] hands up right now.” Without explaining the reason for the stop, he pulls Mr. Floyd out of the car.
Claim of previous shooting
The body camera footage from Mr. Lane and Mr. Kueng reveals one possible reason for Mr. Floyd’s fear: Both Mr. Floyd and Ms. Hill tell the officers multiple times that Mr. Floyd has previously been shot in a similar situation.
“Man, I got shot the same way, Mr. Officer, before,” Mr. Floyd tells Mr. Lane. “Last time I got shot like this, Mr. Officer, it was the same thing.”
Later, Mr. Lane asks Ms. Hill why Mr. Floyd is being so “squirrelly.”
“He’s got a thing going on, I’m telling you, about the police,” Ms. Hill says while pointing her finger to her head and making a circular motion with her finger.
The Times was not able to verify whether or not Mr. Floyd had been previously shot during an encounter with the police, but a spokesman for the Minneapolis Police Department said on Monday that its officers had not previously shot Mr. Floyd.
The footage also offers a new view of the struggle to put Mr. Floyd into the squad car and an explanation of how Mr. Floyd ended up face down on the street, where officers would pin him for nine minutes and 30 seconds.
After removing Mr. Floyd from his vehicle, Mr. Lane and Mr. Kueng handcuff him and walk him across the street to their squad car.
Mr. Floyd can be heard telling the officers that he is claustrophobic. Mr. Lane promises to keep the rear window partly open, but Mr. Floyd resists their efforts to get him into the car.
A minute later, Mr. Floyd tells the officers that he has had the coronavirus, which a medical examiner’s report later confirmed.
“I’m going to die, man,” he says. “And I just had Covid, man. I don’t want to go back to that.” He uses an expletive to describe how scared he is, then offers to count to three before getting in, sit in a front seat or get on the ground instead. The officers insist that he sit in the back.
Mr. Lane moves to the other side of the car and opens the door. Mr. Floyd shouts that he is “not a bad guy” as the struggle to force him into the back seat begins.