MINNEAPOLIS – A suspect has died in Minneapolis police custody after video shared online from a bystander showed an officer kneeling on his neck during the arrest as the offender said he couldn’t breathe. His death occurred Monday night.
Preceding the take down was a struggle with police officers, which was not included in video footage posted to Facebook. The custodial death is under investigation by the FBI and state agents, USA Today reported.
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, speaking to reporters Tuesday morning, was asked about the use of the knee on the man’s neck during the arrest.
“We clearly have policies in place regarding placing someone under control,” Arradondo said, stating that taking a look at what happened and how those policies apply “will be part of the full investigation we’ll do internally.”
The officer involved is white, while the deceased arrestee was black, which enhances the controversy.
Officers were called about 8 p.m. Monday to investigate a report of a forgery at a business, said police spokesman John Elder. According to USA Today, law enforcement officers found the man, believed to be in his 40s, matching the suspect’s description in his car.
“He was ordered to step from his car. After he got out, he physically resisted officers,” Elder said in a statement. “Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress.”
The man, who was not identified, was taken by ambulance to Hennepin County Medical Center where he died a short time later, police said. The officers involved in the call were not identified.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has joined the FBI in its investigation. All body camera footage has been turned over to the BCA, which investigates most police shootings and in-custody deaths.
The officers involved have been put on paid administrative leave, per department protocol.
UPDATE: Four Minneapolis police officers have been terminated in the aftermath of this incident. Read more.