Jul 8, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Transcripts show George Floyd told police "I can't breathe" over 20 times

A mural of George Floyd is seen on the side of a building with the words "rest in peace" painted
Photo: Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Newly released transcripts of bodycam footage from the Minneapolis Police Department show that George Floyd told officers he could not breathe more than 20 times in the moments leading up to his death.

Why it matters: Floyd's killing sparked a national wave of Black Lives Matter protests and an ongoing reckoning over systemic racism in the United States. The transcripts "offer one the most thorough and dramatic accounts" before Floyd's death, The New York Times writes.

The state of play: The transcripts were released as former officer Thomas Lane seeks to have the charges that he aided in Floyd's death thrown out in court, per the Times. He is one of four officers who have been charged.

  • The filings also include a 60-page transcript of an interview with Lane. He said he "felt maybe that something was going on" when asked if he believed that Floyd was having a medical emergency at the time.

What the transcripts say:

  • Floyd told the officers he was claustrophobic as they tried to get him into the squad car.
  • The transcripts also show Floyd at one point saying, "Momma, I love you. Tell my kids I love them. I'm dead."
  • Former officer Derek Chauvin, who had his knee on Floyd's neck for over eight minutes, told Floyd as he pleaded for breath, "Then stop talking, stop yelling, it takes a heck of a lot of oxygen to talk."

Read the transcripts via DocumentCloud.

Go deeper