KEY POINTS

  • Video shows an officer with his knee on a black man’s neck
  • The suspect, who later died, was saying “I can’t breathe”
  • Police claim that the suspect died of “medical distress” at a nearby hospital

A video taken by an onlooker Monday (May 25) evening showed a motionless, moaning black man on the ground near a squad car and pinned to the ground by a Minneapolis police officer who had his knee on the man's neck.

The man, who has not been identified on social media or police reports, later died at a hospital.

Police claimed that the man resisted arrest and died at the hospital of "medical distress" unrelated to the arrest.

The video captured by Darnella Frazier and published on Facebook begins with the man groaning and repeatedly telling the white officer whose knee was on his neck, “I can’t breathe.”

The man is heard repeatedly saying he can’t breathe and that he cannot get into the patrol car.

Several onlookers are heard on the video trying to intervene before an ambulance takes the man away.

In a press conference, the Minneapolis Police Department said officers responded to a call about an ongoing “forgery.” Upon arriving at the scene, the officers saw a man they described only as “in his 40s” on the hood of a blue car and “appeared to be under the influence.”

Police also said the suspect “physically resisted officers” during his arrest. Officers only realized that the suspect was having a “medical distress” after handcuffing him.

The man was transported by paramedics to Hennepin County Medical Center where he “died a short time later.”

Police said that body cameras were turned on during the incident and that no officers were injured.

Councilwoman Andrea Jenkins called the incident “a tragic loss of life” in a statement.

“We must demand answers,” Jenkins said in the statement. “I have spoken with the mayor and have a call in to the chief.”

“We were already in the midst of developing a summer safety strategy for this neighborhood but immediate action is required now,” she also said.

The two officers involved in the incident have been placed on administrative leave.

The incident is being independently investigated by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension at the request of the Minneapolis Police Department. The FBI is also investigating, the police said.