Dispatcher unafraid of being ‘snitch’ reports Floyd arrest

Published 5:58 am Tuesday, June 16, 2020

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MINNEAPOLIS  — A 911 dispatcher who was apparently watching in real time as a Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee into the neck of George Floyd called a supervisor to tell him what she saw, not caring if it made her look like a “snitch,” according to a recording of the call made public Monday.

In the call, the dispatcher calls a police sergeant and says what she was seeing on live video looked “different” and that she wanted to let him know about it. The dispatcher was in a 911 call center at the time and was watching video from a surveillance camera posted at the intersection where police apprehended Floyd, according to city spokesman Casper Hill.

“I don’t know, you can call me a snitch if you want to, but we have the cameras up for 320’s call. … Um, I don’t know if they had used 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,” says the dispatcher, whose name is edited out of the recording.

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“Yeah, they haven’t said anything, unless it’s just a takedown which doesn’t count,” the sergeant said. “But … I’ll find out.”

“No problem,” the dispatcher said. “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.”

Under the police department’s use of force policy, officers are not required to notify supervisors if the use of force was a takedown technique, but supervisor notification is required during all other force incidents involving injury or alleged injury. According to the policy, the officer must stay on the scene and immediately tell a supervisor of the force that was used, and supervisors conduct a force review.

Floyd, a black man who was handcuffed, died May 25 after Derek Chauvin, a white officer, used his knee to pin Floyd to the ground. Chauvin, who kept his knee on Floyd’s neck even after he said he couldn’t breathe and stopped moving, has been charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter.

The three other officers, Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao, have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter. All four officers were fired.

Widely seen video recorded by a bystander shows Chauvin’s actions and Floyd, with his face smashed against the street as he gasps for air. It also shows Thao, who was facing the bystanders. In the bystander video, Lane and Kueng are obscured by a squad car.

The 911 transcripts from two bystanders who called police were also made public Monday. One is from a bystander who said 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.”

The caller goes on to say Floyd “stopped breathing … He was already in handcuffs … I don’t even know if he dead for sure but dude was not responsive when the ambulance came and got him, and the officer that was jut out here left, the one that actually just murdered the kid in front of everybody.”

The operator asks if the caller would like a sergeant, and the caller says “Yeah, like that was bogus what they just did.”

A second 911 call transcript made public is from a person who works as a first responder.

“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,” the caller says.

That person also expresses willingness to speak with a supervisor, but the call is disconnected and the operator tried to reach the caller again four times over the next two minutes, without success, the transcript says.

In the bystander video, a woman can be heard in the background saying she is a Minneapolis firefighter, and repeatedly asking the officers to take Floyd’s pulse.