911 Dispatcher Called Supervisor While Watching George Floyd Arrest: 'Looks a Little Different'
The dispatcher who witnessed Floyd's arrest in real time told a supervisor she felt compelled to contact him about what she'd seen
A 911 dispatcher, who was apparently watching the May 25 apprehension of George Floyd live as it unfolded, notified a superior of the arresting officers' actions, saying she wasn't concerned about being labelled a "snitch."
In a recording of a call between a female dispatcher and a supervisor, released by the Minneapolis Police Department on Monday, the dispatcher describes what she's seeing on live video as looking "different."
She tells the sergeant she felt compelled to contact him about what she was witnessing.
"I don't know, you can call me a snitch if you want to, but we have the cameras up for 320's call," the dispatcher says. "Um, I don't know if they had to use force or not. 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."
"Yeah, they haven't said anything, unless it's just a takedown which doesn't count," the sergeant replied. "But, I'll find out."
"No problem," said the dispatcher, who has not been identified. "We don't get to ever see it. So when we see it, we're just like, 'Whoa.' Ah, well? It looks a little different."
The audio was released a little less than one month after Floyd died in police custody.
On Monday, the department also released transcripts from 911 calls made by eyewitnesses.
One is from a bystander who tells the 911 operators an officer "pretty much just killed this guy that wasn't resisting arrest. He had his knee on the dude's neck the whole time."
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The caller goes on to say Floyd "stopped breathing," adding, "I don’t even know if he's dead for sure but dude was not responsive when the ambulance came and got him, and the officer that was just out here left -- the one that actually just murdered the kid in front of everybody.”
A second caller tells 911, "I literally watched police officers not take a pulse and not do anything to save a man ... I literally have it on video camera (clears throat). I just happened to be on a walk so, this dude, this, they (expletive) killed him."
Floyd's detention and death were caught on camera, with viral footage sparking widespread outrage on social media. In the video, disgraced officer Derek Chauvin is seen placing his knee firmly on the back of Floyd's neck as he lies face down on his stomach, handcuffed, next to a patrol car.
Floyd, who was unarmed, can be heard in the video groaning in pain while bystanders plead with Chauvin to be more gentle. Throughout the nine-minute clip, he repeatedly asks for help. He tells the officers he cannot breathe and says that "everything hurts." The video continued until Floyd was visibly still.
In the initial media statement after Floyd's death, the Minneapolis Police Department alleged that he was "under the influence," and that police were responding to a report of forgery.
Chauvin is being held on $1.25 million bail, after he was charged with third-degree murder, second-degree unintentional murder, and manslaughter.
The three other officers who were present at the time of Floyd's death — Thomas Lane, 37, Tou Thao, 34, and J. Alexander Kueng, 26 — were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second degree manslaughter.
None of the defendants has entered pleas to the charges against them.
Lawyers for the four officers have yet to respond to PEOPLE's requests for comment.
To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:
- Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
- ColorofChange.org works to make government more responsive to racial disparities.
- National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help black youth succeed in college and beyond.