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Other officers stood by and did nothing as Derek Chauvin held his knee on George Floyd’s neck for almost three minutes after he was unresponsive, according to the criminal complaint released Friday, which gives the first official extensive details of the fatal arrest in Minneapolis Monday.
Though much of the evidence seen in the original viral video still stands, the complete timeline detailed in the complaint provides new critical facts about the black man's death that has sparked national protests and rallying cries for racial justice.
Here’s what we’ve learned.
A Gun Was Drawn Before Backup Arrived
Though the Minneapolis PD previously stated that at no weapons were used at any point by anyone involved in the arrest, the criminal complaint says otherwise.
Officers J Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane arrived at the Cup Foods convenience store in South Minneapolis following a 911 call about a man buying merchandise with a counterfeit $20 bill. The officers were told by store personnel that the suspect in question was sitting in a car just around the corner.
Shortly after, Lane and Kueng approached a vehicle where 46-year-old Floyd was sitting in the driver’s seat, an unnamed man was sitting in the passenger’s seat, and an unidentified female was sitting in the back seat.
As Officer Lane approached the driver’s-side window, he drew his gun on Floyd, ordering him to put his hands where they could be seen. Floyd complied, according to the complaint, placing his hands on the steering wheel, after which Lane placed this weapon back in its holster.
As Kueng began to talk to the man in the passenger seat, Lane ordered Floyd out of the vehicle and put him in handcuffs. Though the complaint says Floyd initially resisted being restrained, he began to comply once the cuffs were on, following Lane’s orders to walk with him to a nearby squad car and sit on the sidewalk.
Floyd Told Officers He Was Claustrophobic, and that He Couldn’t Breathe Before He 'Intentionally' Fell to the Ground
Floyd informed officers during his arrest that he suffered from claustrophobia.
After a short conversation near the squad car, the officers told Floyd what he was being arrested for and tried to get him into the car. According to the complaint, as Floyd moved closer to the back of the vehicle, he stiffened and “intentionally” dropped to the ground before telling the two officers that he was afraid of being in small spaces.
Moments later, Derek Chauvin and Tou Thoa pulled up to the scene of the arrest in a separate squad car. After several attempts to get him into the back of the vehicle, Floyd began telling the officers repeatedly that he couldn’t breathe, a symptom triggered by the common anxiety disorder.
Officer Chauvin Held His Knee on Floyd’s Neck for Minutes After They Couldn’t Find a Pulse
Though video of the actual moment Floyd was presumably dead has been public since Memorial Day, we now have a full understanding of Chauvin’s actions.
The complaint says that Chauvin had Floyd pinned to the ground with his knee for a total of 8 minutes and 46 seconds. “You’re talking just fine,” one of the officers told Floyd as he struggled on the floor, begging to be let up from the maneuver.
For nearly six minutes, Floyd writhed underneath the weight of the officer before becoming unresponsive. When Kueng checked for a pulse and couldn’t find one, the complaint says not a single officer moved from their position or intervened.
Chauvin continued to press his knee on the unresponsive man’s neck for another 2 minutes and 53 seconds before paramedics arrived.
Although the full autopsy report is still pending, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner saw “no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation.” Floyd's underlying conditions, including heart disease, combined with being held down “likely contributed to his death,” according to the complaint.
Chauvin Could Be Facing 35 Years
On Friday, after days of national protests and violence, police finally arrested Chauvin, charging him with third-degree murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd.
The complaint shows that Chauvin is facing up to 35 years in prison so far if convicted. Earlier on Friday, Hennepin County District Attorney Mike Freeman said that the disgraced former police officer may face additional charges following the review of additional evidence.
Cover: Protesters gather in Terry Shrunk Plaza in Portland, Ore., on May 29, 2020, to stand with the NAACP as they hold a 'Eulogy For Black America' honoring the lives of those lost to police brutality in response to the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis by officer Derek Chauvin. (Photo by Alex Milan Tracy/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)