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FBI probing death of black man detained by Minn. police

George Floyd. (Star Tribune/TNS)

The death of a black man Monday night in Minneapolis immediately after being detained by police is under investigation by the FBI, in a brooding controversy that draws stark comparison to the 2014 death of Eric Garner on Staten Island.

A 10-minute long video shot by a civilian and posted to Facebook shows a Minneapolis police officer pressing his knee against the man’s neck on the pavement for a prolonged period of time. The man is heard pleading with officers: “I cannot breathe!… Don’t kill me!”

Police were responding to a report of a forgery when the incident unfolded, according to a Washington Post report.

Officers located the man, believed to be in his 40s, whom they believed to be under the influence, inside his car. After he got out, police reportedly said the man “physically resisted officers.”

The video begins after the man already is on the ground.

The Minneapolis Police Department announced Tuesday the man later died of a “medical incident.”

“Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and realized that the suspect was suffering a medical distress,” a Minneapolis police spokesman told reporters Tuesday. “Officers called for an ambulance. He was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center where he died a short time later.”

Police said that no weapons were used at any time by the man or the officers during the encounter.

The tragedy is reminiscent of the 2014 death of Eric Garner in Tompkinsville, who died in police custody during an attempted arrest by Officer Daniel Pantaleo and other cops for the illegal sale of cigarettes.

A five-year saga that followed included heated protests and a personnel shake-up within the NYPD. Protestors who backed Pantaleo pointed to Garner resisting his arrest, his health conditions and a history of arrests as the reason for his death.

After a Staten Island grand jury declined to indict Pantaleo on criminal charges, the U.S. Department of Justice declined to file civil right charges against Pantaleo, citing “insufficient evidence.”

Ultimately, an NYPD judge deemed Pantaleo used a prohibited chokehold to arrest Garner and he was fired from the force.


© 2020 Staten Island Advance