The woman whose video images of a Minneapolis police officer taking down a suspect on the street and pinning him under his knee before the man died said Tuesday that “the world needed to see what I was seeing.”
The 10-minute cellphone video of the white officer restraining George Floyd, an African-American man, to the pavement Monday night in south Minneapolis has since been viewed hundreds of thousands of times and prompted condemnations from Mayor Jacob Frey, community leaders and others.
Darnella Frazier told the Star Tribune that she started recording “as soon as I heard him trying to fight for his life” in front of her and other bystanders near the intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue S.
“It was like a natural instinct, honestly” to start recording, said Frazier, who lives in the neighborhood. “The world needed to see what I was seeing. Stuff like this happens in silence too many times.”
Frazier said she hopes her video revealing the actions taken against George Floyd, of St. Louis Park, can in some way bring about “peace and equality. We are tired of [police] killing us.”
She said it was obvious to her that the officer, Derek Chauvin, had “seen how weak [Floyd] was, and he still proceeded. ... My video proves what really happened.”
Tuesday morning, community members expressed grief and anger while gathered outside the Cup Foods storefront where Floyd went motionless after protesting that he couldn’t breathe in the moments before he died.
“Where he died was right here,” Minneapolis resident Charles McMillian said, pointing to a growing memorial of flowers and balloons next to the incident caught on a viral Facebook video when Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for several minutes as he pleaded for help before he fell motionless.
McMillian, 60, said the Floyd’s death was reminiscent of Eric Garner, who died in 2014 after he was placed in a chokehold by a New York City police officer who attempted to arrest him after he was accused of selling loose cigarettes. Garner’s cries of “I can’t breathe” became a rallying cry for those protesting police brutality.
“We can fight for change, change, change ... when the cigarette man died, what happened with that? They got acquitted, right? It ain’t going to do no difference.”
Diva Reynolds stood next to her 9-year-old daughter. Judeah. The girl said she witnessed what happened.
“My daughter got to see the police get away with murder on video,” Diva Reynolds said. “And the man is begging for air, she said ‘Mom ... she told me ... I mean, it breaks my heart I can’t even talk right now. It’s emotional because that could be her brother. That could be her neighbor.”
Pastor Curtis Farrar of Worldwide Outreach for Christ Ministries said it was clear that Floyd, who was handcuffed, “wasn’t resisting, because he couldn’t resist.”
“I was absolutely disgusted because that man should be alive today,” Farrar said. “He really should be. They actually killed that man.”
As the small crowd grew, community members with the group Family of Trees planted an ironwood tree in Floyd’s memory. It symbolized perpetuating life over death, said Queen Williams.
“We need this tree to breathe, the man couldn’t breathe,” Williams said.