2 Cousins of Unarmed Black Man Who Died in Custody Respond to Officers' Firings: 'It's Not Enough'

The man who died in police custody has been identified as George Floyd, who worked at a restaurant

George Floyd
George Floyd. Photo: Facebook

Four Minneapolis police officers involved in the arrest of a black man named George Floyd who died in their custody have been fired from the department.

The news was announced by Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey on Tuesday via Twitter. The police officers connected with Floyd's death have not yet been named.

Two cousins of Floyd spoke out about his death on Tuesday afternoon.

In an interview shared on TMX.news, Tera Brown said she watched the viral video clip of her cousin's death on Tuesday morning. "It is unbelievable to see someone suffer in the way he did, and to see so many people around, basically asking for him to live," she says.

Another cousin of Floyd, Shareeduh Tate, said she was relieved that the four officers had been fired, but that it was only "a start": "It’s not enough. They murdered our cousin," she told TMX.news.

Brown described Floyd as "the cousin that everybody loved... He was always happy, the jokester, an athlete; he was very talented in is many ways. He was a father. He was everybody’s favorite everything."

Floyd's boss, restauranteur Jovanni Thunstrom, told the Star Tribune Floyd, who was in his 40s, had worked security at the restaurant for the past five years.

Floyd, Thunstrom continued, was "a good friend" who "was family. His co-workers and friends loved him."

The FBI is investigating Floyd's death, which happened Monday evening.

Minneapolis police had characterized Floyd's death in a statement as being the result of a "medical incident" before video circulated widely on social media showing his arrest.

Only two officers are seen in the clip, but four responded to the call, according to the mayor.

A statement from the department alleges that the incident occurred Monday evening outside the Cup Foods store, and that officers "responded to the 3700 block of Chicago Avenue South on a report of a forgery in progress."

Police arrived to find "the suspect was sitting on top of a blue car and appeared to be under the influence. Two officers arrived and located the suspect, a male believed to be in his 40s, in his car. He was ordered to step from his car."

The statement continues: "After he got out, he physically resisted officers. Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress. Officers called for an ambulance. He was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center by ambulance where he died a short time later."

Floyd was unarmed, the press release notes.

In the video, an officer can be seen with his knee firmly placed on the back of Floyd's neck.

Floyd was lying on his stomach, in handcuffs, next to a Minneapolis patrol car; three officers held him down, with one placing his weight on the man's neck with his left knee.

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Floyd can be heard in the video groaning in pain. Throughout the nine-minute clip, he repeatedly asks for help. He tells the officers that he cannot breathe and says that "everything hurts."

Bystanders can be heard in the video telling officers they can see Floyd's nose bleeding.

Updated by
Chris Harris

Chris Harris has been a senior true crime reporter for PEOPLE since late 2015. An award-winning journalist who has worked for Rolling Stone and MTV News, Chris enjoys prog rock, cycling, Marvel movies, IPAs, and roller coasters.

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