On Wednesday, an 82-paged transcript was released detailing the last moments of George Floyd’s life. The transcripts document Floyd saying, “I can’t breathe” more than 20 times while under police custody.
The released document highlights Floyd’s increased fear and panic during the incident through his erratic pleas while Derek Chauvin, a former police officer, pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for a total of eight minutes and 46 seconds.
Chauvin was later charged with second-degree murder while three other former officers Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and Alexander Keung, were charged with aiding and abetting murder.
The transcript was filed in state court on Wednesday as part of a motion filed a day earlier by Lane’s attorney, Earl Gray, who argued that Lane had not played “an intentional role in aiding the commission of a crime.”
According to the transcript, Keung and Lane first arrived at Cup Foods responding to a complaint that a customer had used a counterfeit US$20 bill to make payment. A store clerk pointed them to Floyd’s car.
Lane approached the vehicle and asked Floyd to show his hands to see whether he was hiding counterfeit bills at least five times before Lane drew out his gun.
According to Lane’s body camera audio transcript, Floyd responded, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I didn’t do nothing … What did I do though? What did we do, Mr. Officer?” And as Floyd was asked to step out of his vehicle, he continued to say, “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry. God dang man. Man, I got shot. I got shot the same way, Mr. Officer, before. Mr. Officer, please don’t shoot me. Please man.”
Lane responded that he wouldn’t.
A witness who was with Floyd in his car, Shawanda Renee Hill, told Floyd to stop resisting the officers.
As Keung walked Floyd in handcuffs across the street, Lane stayed and asked Hill if Floyd was “drunk” or “on something.”
Hill replied, “No, he got a thing going on, I’m telling you, about the police. He have problems all the time when they come, especially when that man put that gun like that. It’s been one.”
According to Keung’s body camera audio transcript, Keung sat Floyd down on the sidewalk and explained to him that he was being detained under suspicion of using a counterfeit bill.
When the officers later tried to put Floyd in the police car, he resisted saying he had “anxiety” and he was “claustrophobic,” begging for his handcuffs to be removed.
As the other two officers struggled to get Floyd inside their vehicle Chauvin and Thao arrived. During the struggle, Floyd bumped his head and began bleeding from his mouth, he then alerted the officers that he had difficulty breathing.
“I just had COVID, man. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. Please one of you listen to me.”
In response to Floyd’s bleeding, Lane called for an ambulance, alerting the ambulance staff of a code two emergency.
It was later discovered while Lane accompanied Floyd to the hospital, that the ambulance waited to respond because it had only been alerted to a “code 2 mouth injury.”
It wasn’t until Floyd repeatedly told officers that he couldn’t breathe after Chauvin ordered the other officers to restrain Floyd facedown on the ground and then proceeding to press his knee down Floyd’s neck, that Lane upgraded the ambulance request to a more serious code three emergency.
“You’re under arrest guy,” Chauvin told Floyd as he pressed his knee down on his neck.
“All right, all right,” Floyd responded, “Oh my god. I can’t believe this. I can’t believe this. Mama, I love you … Tell my kids I love them. I’m dead.”
Chauvin then asked the other officers at the scene whether Floyd was “high.” Keung told him they had found “a pipe on him.”
As Floyd repeatedly pleaded for air saying he couldn’t breathe and that his neck hurt, Chauvin replied, “You’re doing a lot of talking, a lot of yelling.” Floyd then cried, “They going to kill me. They’re going to kill me man.”
“Takes a heck of a lot of oxygen to say that,” Chauvin responded.
Lane repeatedly asked Chauvin if they should move Floyd to his side. Chauvin refused.
When Lane warned Chauvin that Floyd could be going into an “excited delirium,” a term medical examiners use to describe an in-custody death of someone under the influence of drugs or in an agitated state, Chauvin responded, “That’s why we got the ambulance coming.”
Bystanders pressed the officers to check if Floyd still had a pulse. Keung checked then said, “I can’t find one” to which Chauvin asked, “Huh?”
According to the timestamp on the transcript, the ambulance arrived two minutes later. Chauvin didn’t remove his knee from Floyd’s neck until he was told to by a paramedic.
Lane went into the ambulance and tried to perform chest compressions on Floyd but he was already under cardiac arrest. The medics told Lane they were confused about the emergency upgrade to code three and then realized they had gone to the wrong spot.
The court filings by Lane’s attorney also include a 60-page transcript of Lane’s interview with investigators from Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
In the interview, when the investigator asked Lane whether he felt Floyd was having a medical emergency, Lane responded, “Yeah, I felt maybe that something was going on.”
When the investigator later asked Lane if he felt that he or Chauvin had played a role in Floyd’s death, Gray forbade him from answering the question.
Last month, a Hennepin County judge set a tentative trial date for all four former officers for March 8, 2021.
A pretrial hearing will be held on September 11.
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