Transcripts of police videos reveal George Floyd’s final moments

Officer who knelt on George Floyd’s neck told him: 'It takes a heck of a lot of oxygen to talk'

As George Floyd told Minneapolis police he could not breathe about 20 times before he died, the officer with his knee against his neck said, “It takes a heck of a lot of oxygen to talk,” according to transcripts of body camera footage released on Wednesday.

The transcripts for the body camera videos of officers Thomas Lane and J Kueng provide the most detailed account yet of what was happened as police took Floyd into custody on May 25.

They reveal more of what was said after Floyd, an African-American man who was handcuffed, was put on the ground.

“You’re going to kill me, man,” he said, a transcript of former officer Lane’s body camera video showed.

“Then stop talking, stop yelling. It takes a heck of a lot of oxygen to talk,” said Derek Chauvin, the white officer who held his knee to Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes, even after he stopped moving.

“They’ll kill me. They’ll kill me. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe,” Floyd said.

The transcripts were made public on Wednesday as part of Mr Lane’s request to have the case against him dismissed.

Read full transcript of Floyd arrest. Caution: the text contains strong adult language

His lawyer, Earl Gray, said in a memo that there was not probable cause to charge his client, based on all evidence and the law.

Mr Gray portrayed his client as a rookie officer who trusted Mr Chauvin, a senior officer, after Floyd had been acting erratically, struggling and hurting himself during an arrest.

Mr Gray said that once Floyd was on the ground, Mr Lane asked twice if officers should roll Floyd on his side, and Mr Chauvin said no.

He also submitted the body camera footage but that was not immediately made public.

The transcripts show Floyd appeared co-operative at times but became agitated as he begged not to be put in a squad car, saying repeatedly that he was claustrophobic.

“Oh man, God don’t leave me man, please man, please man,” he begged. “I’ll do anything you tell me to, man. I’m just claustrophobic, that’s it.”

Mr Gray wrote that Floyd started to thrash back and forth and was “hitting his face on the glass in the squad and began to bleed from his mouth".

The officers put him on the ground.

“The plan was to restrain him so he couldn’t move and hurt himself any more,” Mr Gray wrote.

Mr Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter.

Mr Lane, Mr Kueng and Tou Thao are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter.

Mr Lane was holding Floyd’s legs, Mr Kueng was at his midriff and Mr Thao was watching bystanders. All four were fired.

A spokesman for the Attorney General’s office said prosecutors planned to oppose Mr Lane's motion to dismiss.

As part of his court filing, Mr Gray also submitted a transcript of Mr Lane’s interview with state investigators and police department training material on restraint holds.

Mr Gray wrote that all of the evidence exonerated his client and that it was not “fair or reasonable” for Mr Lane to stand trial.

He said that his client’s video showed the encounter with Floyd from the time Mr Lane arrived at the scene to the point when Floyd was put into an ambulance.

Mr Lane went in the ambulance and helped with CPR, the transcript said.

He repeatedly told Floyd to show his hands and told investigators he drew his gun at first because Floyd was reaching for something.

But he holstered it once Floyd showed his hands. The transcripts show Floyd initially said he had been shot before and begged police not to shoot him.

Mr Gray said he was acting erratically and had foam at his mouth.

The transcripts say that when asked about the foam and whether he was on something, he said he was scared and had been playing basketball.

As officers struggled to get him into the police car, Floyd said: “I can’t breathe” and “I want to lay on the ground".

"He's got to be on something," Mr Lane told the other officers when Floyd was on the ground.

He asked twice whether officers should roll Floyd on to his side and Mr Chauvin said no.

“Lane had no basis to believe Chauvin was wrong in making that decision,” Mr Gray wrote.

Bystanders told officers repeatedly to check Floyd’s pulse and after Mr Kueng did he said, “I can’t find one.”

“Huh?” Mr Chauvin said in the transcript of Mr Keung’s camera video.

Mr Gray said that to charge Mr Lane with aiding and abetting, prosecutors must show he played a knowing role in committing a crime.

He said there was no evidence that he played an intentional role or knew Mr Chauvin was committing a crime, namely assault.

“The decision to restrain Floyd was reasonably justified,” Mr Gray wrote.

“Based on Floyd’s actions up to this point, the officers had no idea what he would do next – hurt himself, hurt the officers, flee or anything else – but he was not co-operating.”

Mr Gray wrote that Lane’s trust in Mr Chauvin was “reasonable and not criminal".

Updated: July 9, 2020 03:16 PM


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