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‘Y’all, I’m Going to Die Here’: New Transcripts Reveal That George Floyd Repeatedly Warned Officers They Were Killing Him

Illustration for article titled ‘Y’all, I’m Going to Die Here’: New Transcripts Reveal That George Floyd Repeatedly Warned Officers They Were Killing Him
Photo: Joe Raedle (Getty Images)

Here’s a thing that the “Blue Lives Matter” advocates simply don’t understand or choose to ignore: We live in a country where trained police officers are afforded the benefit of the doubt when using excessive force as long as they claim they were in fear for their lives, while untrained Black civilians are expected to be composed and immediately cooperative no matter how afraid we are. Fear on Black people looks like suspicious behavior while, for a cop, it’s considered a part of the job that officers should be commended for enduring.

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It’s been nearly two months since George Floyd died in Minneapolis police custody, sparking one of the largest waves of Black Lives Matter protests the world has ever seen. Transcripts from the body camera footage taken that day were released Wednesday, and what they reveal is that Floyd was terrified from the moment officers confronted him. It also shows that he warned officers many, many times that he couldn’t breathe, that he had trauma-induced fear after being shot by a cop in the past, that he was previously sick from COVID-19 and that he was certain he was about to die.

The Washington Post reports that transcripts were taken from the body-cams worn by former officers J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas K. Lane—two of the three officers who are charged with aiding and abetting murder in the second-degree for helping Derek Chauvin restrain Floyd in a way that allegedly caused his death. The footage was disclosed in court Wednesday as Lane’s attorney argued there isn’t sufficient evidence that his client committed a crime.

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As you may already know, the officers responded to a 911 call from Cup Foods reporting that Floyd tried to pay the grocery store with a counterfeit $20 bill. When they arrived at the scene, Floyd was in a car with two others. The audio transcript shows that Lane ordered Floyd to show his hands multiple times before drawing his gun. Floyd responded, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry! I didn’t do nothing! What did I do though? What did we do, Mr. Officer?”

“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry,” Floyd continued. “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.”

“I’m not going to shoot you,” Lane responded.

As Floyd stepped out of the car, Shawanda Renee Hill, one of the witnesses who were in the car, warned Floyd to stop resisting. Lane reportedly asked Hill why Floyd was “getting all squirrelly and not showing us his hands and just being all weird like that?” Hill told Lane Floyd had been shot by police before.

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“No, he got a thing going on, I’m telling you, about the police,” Hill told Lane after being asked if Floyd was under the influence of anything. “He have problems all the time when they come, especially when that man put that gun like that.”

Floyd repeatedly begged Lane and Kueng not to put him in the police car because he’s “claustrophobic” and had “anxiety.”

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“Y’all, I’m going to die in here,” Floyd told them. “I just had COVID man, don’t want to go back to that.”

Things got worse once Chauvin and former officer Tou Thao arrived on the scene.

From the Post:

Floyd began to bleed from the mouth, after bumping his head inside the vehicle, and Lane called emergency medical help to the scene. Floyd began to complain that he couldn’t breathe. “I just had COVID, man,” Floyd said. “I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. Please one of you listen to me.”

Chauvin asked whether Floyd was going to jail, and the officers pulled him from the car. “Get him down on the ground,” Chauvin said.

The transcripts show Floyd continued to complain that he couldn’t breathe and called out for his mother. The officers restrained him on the ground — Lane at his feet, Kueng at his back and Chauvin at his head. “You’re under arrest guy,” Chauvin told him.

“All right, all right. Oh my god. I can’t believe this. I can’t believe this,” Floyd said. “Mama, I love you . . . Tell my kids I love them. I’m dead.”

“You’re doing a lot of talking, man,” Chauvin replied.

As the officers held Floyd to the ground, Chauvin asked the other officers whether Floyd was “high.” Kueng told him they’d found “a pipe on him.” Floyd again told the officers he couldn’t breathe. “You’re doing fine. You’re talking fine,” Kueng said, as Lane told him to take a “deep breath” and Chauvin told him to “relax.”

“My neck hurts,” Floyd said.

“Uh huh,” Chauvin replied. “You’re doing a lot of talking, a lot of yelling.”

“They going to kill me,” Floyd said. “They’re going to kill me man.”

“Takes a heck of a lot of oxygen to say that,” Chauvin said.

So while Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes, Floyd told him over and over again that he couldn’t breathe. Chauvin basically told him his ability to speak proved he could.

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Last month, The Root reported that a study conducted by the New York Times showed at least 70 people—most of whom were Black—complained that they couldn’t breathe before dying in police custody. The study shows that in many of those cases, the suspect’s pleas were ignored because cops decided that if they can talk, they can breathe.

What the newly released transcripts show is that Floyd had no intention of resisting arrest, but he was terrified that he was going to be killed—a fear that is completely understandable considering the fact that it’s exactly what happened.

Zack Linly is a poet, performer, freelance writer, blogger and grown man lover of cartoons

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DISCUSSION

The audio transcript shows that Lane ordered Floyd to show his hands multiple times before drawing his gun. Floyd responded, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry! I didn’t do nothing! What did I do though? What did we do, Mr. Officer?”

“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry,” Floyd continued. “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.”

Over an alleged counterfeit 20 dollar bill (which we never found out if it was really counterfeit at all, which means, in the scheme of things, it really wasn’t that big of a fucking deal, now was it? But this brother died because of it?

“I’m not going to shoot you,” Lane responded.

If you pull a gun on me and you tell me you’re not going to shoot me? I’m going to doubt you, just saying.

As Floyd stepped out of the car, Shawanda Renee Hill, one of the witnesses who were in the car, warned Floyd to stop resisting. 

...but he wasn’t resisting, Shawanda!

Lane reportedly asked Hill why Floyd was “getting all squirrelly and not showing us his hands and just being all weird like that?”

1. Why you asking Shawanda?

2. Motherfucker, you pulled a gun on him!

Hill told Lane Floyd had been shot by police before.

“No, he got a thing going on, I’m telling you, about the police,” Hill told Lane after being asked if Floyd was under the influence of anything. “He have problems all the time when they come, especially when that man put that gun like that.”

See, even though I don’t know why you asking Shawanda anything, she told you that the man had been shot before and most people would be living in fear of getting shot again, ESPECIALLY if you just pulled a gun on him!

Jesus Christ, this is infuriating and disgusting