Minneapolis mayor calls for arrest of officer who kneeled on George Floyd's neck


May 27 (UPI) -- Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey on Wednesday called for the arrest of the police officer seen in a video kneeling on the neck of a handcuffed man who later died.

The mayor urged Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman to file charges against the officer, whom the city identified as Derek Chauvin. In a video taken by a witness, Chauvin can be seen kneeling and putting pressure on the neck of George Floyd, who struggled and said he couldn't breathe.

Police called an ambulance for Floyd after he became unconscious. He later died at the hospital.

The Minneapolis Police Department fired Chauvin and three other officers involved in the arrest -- J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao.

"Why is the man who killed George Floyd not in jail?" Frey asked during a news conference Wednesday. "If you had done it or I had done it, we would be behind bars right now and I cannot come up with an answer to that question."

The mayor said his call for charges agains Chauvin is based on the footage from the scene.

"We watched for 5 whole excruciating minutes as a white officer firmly pressed his knee into the neck of an unarmed handcuffed black man. I saw no threat. I saw nothing that would signal that this kind of force was necessary."

Frey said Chauvin's use of force was not a technique authorized by the police department's training.

Update from Mayor Frey

The mayor's news conference comes the morning after protests over Floyd's death broke out in Minneapolis on Tuesday night, leading to some violence. Thousands of protests gathered at the site of Floyd's arrest, chanting "I can't breathe" and calling for the officer involved to be charged and convicted.

The group marched toward the 3rd Precinct location and WCCO-TV reported that a smaller group began vandalizing the police building and cars.

Police responded in riot gear, setting off tear gas and flash grenades in an attempt to disperse the crowd. Some protesters responded by throwing water bottles and rocks at the officers.

Some non-violent protesters said they were injured in the violence.

"I got on my knees and I put up a peace sign and they tear gassed me," one protester told WCCO. "And I said, 'Tear gas me again because non-violence seems healing.'"