Minneapolis, MN – The judge presiding over the trials of the Minneapolis police officers charged in connection with the death of George Floyd ordered the release of bodycam from an earlier arrest and said the footage could be used as evidence at trial (video below).
Prosecutors have fought to keep the bodycam video from Floyd’s encounter with three officers a year before he died in police custody out of the public and the upcoming trial, The Washington Post reported.
Sources said Hennepin County prosecutors didn’t know the footage existed until attorneys for former Minneapolis Police Officer Thomas Lane filed it with a motion to dismiss charges.
Earl Gray, who is representing the former officer charged with aiding and abetting murder, said in the motion that Floyd swallowed fentanyl tablets while the officers were trying to take him into custody, KMSP reported.
Gray said that the bodycam video of Floyd’s arrest showed a white spot on his tongue that disappeared a moment later.
In the motion to dismiss, former Officer Lane’s attorney argued it looked like Floyd was swallowing “2 milligrams of fentanyl, a lethal dose” in order to avoid being caught holding the drugs, KMSP reported.
“All he had to do is sit in the police car, like every other defendant who is initially arrested. While attempting to avoid his arrest, all by himself, Mr. Floyd overdosed on Fentanyl,” Gray wrote in the court filing. “Given his intoxication level, breathing would have been difficult at best. Mr. Floyd’s intentional failure to obey commands, coupled with his overdosing, contributed to his own death.”
He submitted former Officer Lane’s bodycam video of the arrest as well as the footage of Floyd’s May 6, 2019 arrest, where he seemed to have done largely the same thing.
However, in that case, the officers called 911 after Floyd admitted after he was handcuffed that he had swallowed about eight Percocet pills and told officers he was addicted painkillers, The Washington Post reported.
Bodycam video from the earlier encounter captured what happened when police approached an unlicensed vehicle with Floyd in it and showed he demonstrated many of the same behaviors during that incident as he did when officers tried to arrest him on May 25.
The video showed that Floyd refused to obey officers’ commands to undo his seatbelt and immediately told them not to shoot him.
“I don’t plan on shooting you, I’m just saying, take your time… just keep your hands where I can see them,” the officer replied in the video.
Then the officer yelled at Floyd several times to put his hands on the dash, the video showed.
That’s when bodycam showed officers observed Floyd swallowing pills that he had in his possession when police approached, The Washington Post reported.
“Put your hands on your head, open your mouth, and spit out what you got,” an officer ordered Floyd from the driver’s side of the vehicle.
“Spit out what you got or I’m going to Tase you,” the officer warned.
At that point, officers on the passenger side were able to get one handcuff on Floyd and then ease him out of the vehicle to finish cuffing him, the video showed.
The video showed Floyd initially resisted arrest but officers were able to talk him down and de-escalate the situation.
Floyd appeared hysterical in the video and begged the officers not to hurt him.
The officers told Floyd they had no plans to beat him up or to shoot him and told him to just do what they asked him to do, the video showed.
Then the video showed Floyd begged for his “mama” repeatedly as officers searched him for weapons and other drugs.
Police found a stash of additional pills and drugs in powder form in a case in the seat where Floyd had been sitting, The Washington Post reported.
Once Floyd admitted to the officers that he had consumed a quantity of opioid pills moments earlier, the officers called for an ambulance to assist him.
Paramedics who responded to the scene were concerned about Floyd’s elevated blood pressure and transported him, The Washington Post reported.
It was unclear whether Floyd was ever officially detained or arrested on that occasion.
Defense attorneys argued that the prosecutors have portrayed Floyd as a good person and someone who wouldn’t have resisted arrest prior to the day he died in police custody, The Washington Post reported.
“The state is portraying Mr. Floyd as somebody he isn’t,” Gray told Hennepin County District Judge Peter A. Cahill.
The judge ordered the 2019 footage released to the public on Oct. 15, The Washington Post reported.
Cahill called the video “one small piece of evidence which shows what basically everybody already knows: George Floyd was arrested on another occasion.”
Watch the incident unfold in the video below. WARNING: Graphic Content and Obscene Language: