Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey is calling on the Hennepin County Attorney's Office to file charges against the police officer who held his knee on George Floyd's neck as Floyd repeatedly said he couldn't breathe.
"Why is the man who killed George Floyd not in jail?" said Frey, referring to Derek Chauvin, a 44-year-old who is a 19-year veteran with Minneapolis Police Department.
"If you had done, or I had done [it], we would be behind bars. I cannot come up with a good answer to that question."
"We cannot turn a blind eye," he said. "George Floyd deserves justice. His family deserves justice, and the black community deserves justice."
Frey cited evidence he has seen is "somewhat limited to the video evidence."
"I can say with certainty, based on what I saw, that the officer who had his knee on the neck of George Floyd should be charged," said Frey.
At the moment, no cause of death for Floyd has been confirmed, which will be crucial for any prosecutor to determine what role Chauvin played in Floyd's death.
The mayor noted that most protocols advise against acting swiftly, but said his request to charge the officer as soon as possible is due to the clarity of the video. "If I'm tasked with being honest with people ... how could I not speak out when an offense took place that you or I or many other people would have been behind bars if they did?"
"Black men have been put in prison before for far, far less," Frey added.
Frey said he has not seen any evidence to confirm Minneapolis Police Department's report that Floyd resisted arrest. In security footage obtained by The Washington Post, officers are seen handcuffing Floyd before walking him across the street to the squad vehicle where the incident reached a point that Floyd lost consciousness and later died.
"We watched five 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," the mayor said. "By the way, that particular technique that was used was not authorized by the MPD, it is not something that officers are trained on and it should not be used. Period."
Frey said many police-involved deaths happen within seconds, while Floyd's death isn't in that realm. "There's somewhere around 300 seconds in those five minutes, every one of which the officer could have turned back. Every second of which he could have removed his knee from George Floyd's neck."
"You heard George Floyd himself articulating the pain he was feeling, an inability to breathe. I can't see coming to a different answer there," he concluded.