Omar, Klobuchar, Smith, McCollum Call for Accountability for George Floyd’s Death

May 26, 2020
Press Release

MINNEAPOLIS -- After George Floyd died at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department on the night of May 25, 2020, Representatives Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Betty McCollum (D-MN) along with Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN) sent a letter to U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald and Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman calling for accountability for George Floyd’s death. Specifically, they are demanding thorough investigations at all levels -- including local, state, and federal -- into the events that led to this tragedy.

“While we understand that the facts are still coming to light, and that state and local authorities are reviewing the case, we believe that the seriousness of the incident requires additional independent oversight by law enforcement at all levels. We urge you to ensure that all evidence is quickly secured, including all video footage, and to aggressively pursue justice,” the lawmakers wrote. 

“Mr. Floyd’s death appears to be yet another horrifying instance of excessive force leading to the death of African Americans across this country,” the lawmakers continued.

Full text of the letter can be found HERE and below. 

 

Dear Ms. MacDonald and Mr. Freeman: 

We write to express our outrage over the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department on the night of May 25, 2020, and to request that federal, state, and local authorities undertake a thorough investigation into the events that led to this tragedy. While we understand that the facts are still coming to light, and that state and local authorities are reviewing the case, we believe that the seriousness of the incident requires additional independent oversight by law enforcement at all levels. We urge you to ensure that all evidence is quickly secured, including all video footage, and to aggressively pursue justice. 

According to reports, George Floyd, who police suspected of committing forgery, was unarmed while he was handcuffed and appeared to be experiencing medical distress.  Video evidence from the incident shows an officer kneeling on Mr. Floyd’s neck as he pleaded for his life. At one point, Floyd can be heard telling police, “I can’t breathe.” The video continues to show Floyd stating, “my stomach hurt, my neck hurt, everything hurts.” Shortly after, Floyd appears to lose consciousness while on the ground. A bystander is heard asking police to check Floyd’s pulse, but the officer did not remove his knee from Floyd’s neck until the ambulance arrived. Eyewitnesses state that Floyd then appeared motionless before he was put on a stretcher and into an ambulance. After being transported by ambulance, he was announced dead at Hennepin County Medical Center, according to police. 

Mr. Floyd’s death appears to be yet another horrifying instance of excessive force leading to the death of African Americans across this country. In addition to the obvious state laws that will govern this case, federal law makes it a crime for a state or local police officer to willfully violate a person’s constitutional rights, which includes the use of excessive force.  We also ask that you consider the arresting officer’s past involvement in any other alleged incidents of misconduct. 

We urge you to conduct a thorough investigation at the federal, state, and local level into what occurred and hold all those involved in this incident accountable. 

 

Sincerely,

 

Ilhan Omar

Member of Congress

 

Betty McCollum 

Member of Congress

 

Amy Klobuchar

U.S. Senator

 

Tina Smith

U.S. Senator

 

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