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Worried 911 Dispatcher Called Police Supervisor During George Floyd’s Arrest

Minneapolis, MN – Minneapolis city officials released an audio recording of a 911 dispatcher who alerted a police supervisor that things had gone sideways during the arrest of 46-year-old George Floyd on May 25.

The recording showed that the dispatcher had contacted the supervisor to tell him that she believed she had seen the officers arresting Floyd use force via the city’s surveillance system, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

“You can call me a snitch if you want to, but we have the cameras up for 320’s call,” the dispatcher told a 3rd Precinct sergeant who has not been identified.

“They must have already started moving him… I don’t know if they had to use force or not, but they got something out of the back of the squad, and all of them sat on this man, so I don’t know if they needed you or not, but they haven’t said anything to me yet,” the dispatcher said.

The supervisor confirmed that he had not yet been contacted by the officers, which was required per department policy if the officers had to use force, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

“Yeah, they haven’t said anything. Must have been just a takedown, which doesn’t count, but I’ll find out,” the sergeant replied.

“No problem, we don’t get to ever see it, so when we see it, we’re just like ‘whoa, well, that looks a little different’,” the dispatcher told the supervisor.

But the first supervisor to arrive on the scene didn’t get there until 37 minutes after Floyd’s initial contact with the police, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Minneapolis Police Sergeant David Pleoger, a middlewatch supervisor for the 3rd Precinct, was the first official on the scene.

It’s not known if Sgt. Pleoger was the supervisor who spoke to the concerned 911 dispatcher while Floyd was being arrested, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

The city also released audio recordings of two 911 calls from bystanders who witnessed Floyd’s arrest.

One of the calls came from an off-duty Minneapolis firefighter who filmed the arrest on his cell phone, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

“Hello, I am on the block of 38th and Chicago and I literally watched police officers not take a pulse and not do anything to save a man, and I am a first responder myself, and I literally have it on video camera,” the firefighter told a 911 dispatcher. “I just happened to be on a walk so, this dude, this, they (expletive) killed him so…”

The firefighter asked to speak to a supervisor but then the call was disconnected, the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

The dispatcher tried multiple times to call the firefighter back but he didn’t answer.

Floyd was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was arrested on May 29 and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in connection with Floyd’s death during his arrest. His charges have since been upgraded to second-degree murder.

On June 3, former Minneapolis Police Officers Tou Thao, Thomas Lane, and J. Alexander Kueng were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder for their role in Floyd’s arrest.

The officers had responded to a call about a counterfeit $20 that Floyd had allegedly used to make a purchase at a deli.

Store employees pointed out the suspect to police and they arrested him.

The complaint used to charge Chauvin said Floyd actively resisted arrest and then fought being put in the back of a police car once he had been handcuffed.

Viral cell phone video showed then-Officer Chauvin and three other officers holding Floyd on the ground.

The video showed Officer Chauvin held his knee on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes, during which time the suspect lost consciousness.

Chauvin remained on Floyd’s neck for almost three minutes after he was unresponsive.

Floyd was pronounced dead 90 minutes later at the hospital.

After three days of violent riots and looting that left Minneapolis and its sister city, St. Paul, in flames, the state investigative agency announced it making an arrest.

Chauvin was taken into custody by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension four days after the incident and held on a $500,000 bond, Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington announced, according to WCCO.

According to charging documents, the medical examiner’s preliminary report found no physical evidence that Floyd had suffered from asphyxiation or strangulation at the hands of the Minneapolis police.

The preliminary autopsy findings indicated Floyd had died from a combination of his underlying medical problems and possible substances.

“The combined effects of Mr. Floyd being restrained by the police, his underlying health conditions and any potential intoxicants in his system likely contributed to his death,” according to the complaint.

But veteran forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden told reporters on Monday at the Floyd family press conference that his independent autopsy determined that the man had died of asphyxiation much in the same way Eric Garner died from a choke hold in New York in 2014, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

The Eric Garner autopsy report showed no damage to any area of his neck, and it was determined that he died of a medical emergency induced by officers who were arresting him.

But the final autopsy findings released by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office hours later confirmed that Floyd had died from heart failure.

“Cause of death: Cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression,” Floyd’s autopsy said. “Manner of death: Homicide.”

“How injury occurred: Decedent experienced a cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained by law enforcement officer(s),” the report continued. “Other significant conditions: Arteriosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease; fentanyl intoxication; recent methamphetamine use.”

The toxicology results showing fentanyl and methamphetamine directly contradicted assertions by the forensic pathologist that Floyd’s family’s attorneys hired to dispute the initial medical examiner’s report.

And a postmortem nasal swab showed that Floyd tested positive SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19, according to KSTP. He had previously tested positive for COVID-19 in April 3.

Protests erupted in the Twin Cities after Floyd’s death, leaving both Minneapolis and the state’s capital of St. Paul burned, looted, and destroyed.

Rioters overran and torched the Minneapolis Police Department’s 3rd Precinct where the officers accused of Floyd’s homicide were assigned.

Protests spread across the United States, and became very violent in major cities like Atlanta, Dallas, Portland, Oakland, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, St. Louis, and Washington, DC.

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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Written by Sandy Malone

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