On Monday, the Daily Mail published leaked body camera footage of George Floyd’s arrest, revealing more of the moments which led to his death on May 25 in Minneapolis, MN.
The partial footage from now-former police officers Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng’s body cameras show a distressed Floyd struggling with officers. “Please don’t do this,” Floyd is heard saying before they pushed him into the backseat of a squad car in the moments before Derek Chauvin forcibly held him in a chokehold for eight minutes and 46 seconds. As Floyd is being held down on the ground later in the footage, Lane asks Chauvin if Floyd should be rolled on his side. “No, he’s staying where I got him,” says Chauvin.
"The police officers approached him with guns drawn, simply because he was a Black man. As this video shows, he never posed any threat. The officers' contradictions continue to build," Ben Crump, the Floyd family's attorney, told CNN in a statement on Monday.
The footage was given to the court on July 7 by Lane’s attorney as evidence to support a motion to dismiss charges against him, which currently include aiding and abetting a second-degree murder as well as aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. Judge Peter Cahill, who is presiding over the cases, allowed a limited viewing of the footage in the courthouse on July 15. Only the transcript, which reveals Floyd said, "I can't breathe" 20 times, was made public in its entirety. Cahill didn’t permit news organizations to publish the video, which led local and national media outlets to file a motion in July calling for the immediate release of the footage.
The Daily Mail didn’t explain how it obtained the video. Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison doesn’t know how it was leaked, reports CNN. “The prosecution team is not the source of the leak,” said Ellison. “We will continue to take the strictest precautions to ensure a fair trial.”
On May 25, Floyd was arrested by Chauvin, Lane, Kueng, and Tou Thao for allegedly spending a counterfeit $20 bill. In a video captured by bystanders as well as bodycam footage, Chauvin is seen pressing his knee to Floyd’s neck, restricting his ability to breathe. The official autopsy records Floyd's cause of death as a homicide. The killing sparked nationwide outrage and protests demanding reform and a reckoning for racial inequality. Protests continue more than two months after his death.
Lane, Kueng, and Thao are all charged with similar crimes of aiding and abetting. The three former officers have all been released from Hennepin County jail after posting bond. Chauvin was initially charged with third-degree murder, but his charges were upgraded to include second-degree murder and manslaughter. He remains in jail, with his bail set to $1.25 million. None of them have entered a formal plea.
Cahill has yet to rule on a motion to make the footage public.