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George Floyd Pleaded With Police 27 Times That He Couldn’t Breathe

A harrowing body cam transcript reveals that Floyd called out for his mother and his children, while former officer Derek Chauvin told him to stop talking.
July 9, 2020, 12:21pm
AP Photo/Jim Mone
AP Photo/Jim Mone

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While Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into George Floyd’s neck, the 47-year-old Black man repeated 27 times that he couldn’t breathe and called out for his mother and his children.

Rather than taking his knee off his neck, Chauvin responded by saying: “Then stop talking, stop yelling, it takes a heck of a lot of oxygen to talk.”

The harrowing details of Floyd’s final moments were revealed in 82 pages of transcripts from body camera footage that were filed in court and made public on Wednesday.

Cell phone footage captured by a passer-by showed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck as the 47-year-old repeated several times that he couldn’t breathe. That footage sparked anger and outrage across the U.S. and around the globe, igniting a global Black Lives Matter movement.

But the transcript offers an even more graphic picture of Floyd’s final moments, during which he pleaded with the police officers, who had arrested him for allegedly using a forged $20 note to buy cigarettes.

As well as repeatedly telling Chauvin and the other cops that he couldn’t breathe, Floyd calls out for his mother more than a dozen times: “Mama, I love you. I can't do nothing,” Floyd says.

He also says: “Tell my kids I love them. I'm dead.”

Seconds before he lost consciousness, Floyd pleads one final time with Chauvin and the other officers:

“Come on, man. Oh, oh. I cannot breathe. I cannot breathe. Ah! They'll kill me. They‘ll kill me. I can't breathe. I can‘t breathe. Oh,” the transcript reads.

His final words on the transcript are: “Ah! Ah! Please. Please. Please.”

The transcript was released after one of the four former officers involved in Floyd’s death, Thomas Lane, applied to the court to have the charges against him dismissed.

Chauvin faces several charges including second-degree murder, while the other three — Lane, J. Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao — are charged with aiding and abetting murder. All four could face up to 40 years in jail if convicted.

A lawyer for Lane, who was a new recruit only days into the job when Floyd was killed, is arguing that it was “not fair or reasonable” for his client to stand trial on the charges.

The court filings also include a 60-page transcript of Lane’s interview with investigators from Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

When asked if he thought at the time that Floyd was having a medical emergency, Lane said: “Yeah, I felt maybe that something was going on.”

But, at the end of the interview, when investigators asked Lane if he or Chauvin had contributed to Floyd’s death, the former police officer’s lawyer, Earl Gray, stopped his client from responding:

“You’re not going to answer that,” Gray said.

Cover: A chain portrait of George Floyd is part of the memorial for him, Wednesday, May 27, 2020, near the site of the arrest of Floyd who died in police custody Monday night in Minneapolis after video shared online by a bystander showed a white officer kneeling on his neck during his arrest as he pleaded that he couldn't breathe. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

This article originally appeared on VICE US.