A Minneapolis Police spokesman has reported that George Floyd, who died Monday after a bystander video showed him begging for air while a police officer held a knee to his neck, has died from coronavirus.
“It’s very tragic that this man succumbed to the COVID-19 pandemic and died shortly after Minneapolis police detained him,” Michael Fushnikins said.
The department is denying any wrongdoing in the death.
“The officer didn’t know Floyd had the coronavirus when he pinned the man to the ground with his knee on his neck. We didn’t know he was so late in the progression of the disease,” Fushnikins said.
A bystander captured 10 minutes of the interaction on video. When the video starts, an MPD officer is seen pressing his knee into the side of Floyd’s neck while he’s on the ground and handcuffed.
Floyd is heard pleading with the officer, repeatedly saying, “I can’t breathe,” “My neck hurts,” and “They gone kill me.” He continues to move his head, presumably in an attempt to breathe.
“If we had known he had COVID-19, this would have gone completely differently. We would have intubated him instead of suffocated him!” Fushnikins added.