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Release of Floyd bodycam footage ignites more debate

The release of body cam footage that had been sealed by the court in the George Floyd death has raised more debate about police officer culpability in the pending murder trial of the cops who arrested Floyd.

Floyd died while being arrested in Minneapolis, after allegedly passing a counterfeit $20 bill, sparking months-long, sometimes violent, protests for police reform across the nation.

The leaked video was under seal by the court and prosecutors are now looking into how British the tabloid, Daily Mail, obtained it. Media outlets were challenging the court for the release of the video.

“Floyd is seen sobbing as the officers pull him out of the car and handcuff him,” says the Daily Mail of the video, “as his ex suggests he was undergoing mental problems and was afraid of police. The tapes show in minute detail how Floyd begs ‘Mr. Officer, please don’t shoot me. Please man,’ before the struggle that ended with his death.”

The Floyd family attorney says that the video shows that Floyd never posed a threat to officers and that the use of force was inappropriate for the offense.

“The more video evidence you see, the more unjustifiable George Floyd’s torture and death at the hands of the police becomes,” said attorney Ben Crump in a statement.

“Although the allegation against George was for a non-violent offense involving a $20 bill, the police officers approached him with guns drawn, simply because he was a Black man.”

People on social media who have viewed the footage, however, are split on the responsibility for Floyd’s death.

Some think the video shows Floyd as unresponsive to officers’ commands and out of control, perhaps on drugs.

“The Minneapolis police did not kill George Floyd,” tweeted Ian Miles Cheong. “The body cam footage exonerates them. Police were trying to calm him down while he experienced Excited Delirium.”

Others are saying that the video clearly demonstrates that Floyd was compliant with officers and was murdered while having a panic attack.

“George Floyd was murdered,” says Michael Rapaport. “George Floyd should be alive. The Cops that killed George Floyd should be fully prosecuted. Watch the Body Cam footage & be OUTRAGED.”

The differing views show the struggle that a jury will have judging the case.

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter.  J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao, are also charged with aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter with culpable negligence for their parts in Floyd’s death.

The second-degree murder charge carries a maximum sentence of 40 years, while aiding and abetting can bring a maximum sentence of 10 years.  

The trial is scheduled for next March.

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