Police officers who arrested George Floyd 'should face death penalty', says heartbroken brother

April Roach
An artist creates an image of George Floyd in Minneapolis as protests over his death broke out in Minneapolis for a third straight night: AP

George Floyd's brother has said the four officers who arrested him before his death "should be given the death penalty" as he called for "justice".

Philonise Floyd spoke out amid ongoing protests after his 46-year-old brother died in police custody after being restrained by officers.

Video footage from the scene filmed by a bystander shows a white police officer with his knee on Mr Floyd's neck. The unarmed black man can be heard saying that he cannot breathe and that his stomach and neck are hurting.

Onlookers plead with the officer to let him up, but he is held in this position until an ambulance arrives. He died in hospital later on Monday.

Philonise Floyd struggled to hold back tears as he told CNN's New Day: "These officers, they need to be arrested right now.

"They need to be arrested and held accountable about everything because these people want justice right now."

He added: "These guys need to be arrested, convicted of murder, and given the death penalty. They need to. They took my brother's life.

"He will never get that back. I will never see him again. My family will never see him again. His kids will never see him again."

The US attorney’s office and the FBI in Minneapolis said they are conducting “a robust criminal investigation” into the death. The FBI is also investigating whether Mr Floyd’s civil rights were violated.

Mr Chauvin, the officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck, was sacked along with three other officers involved in the arrest.

The next day, the mayor called for Mr Chauvin to be criminally charged.

Mr Floyd's brother shared how difficult it was to see his brother's lifeless body "dragged" across the ground.

"It hurts a lot," he said. "I grew up with him. That was my oldest brother. I love him. I'm never going to get my brother back.

"We need justice. We need justice. Those four officers need to be arrested. They executed my brother in broad daylight. People had to film that. People had to see that.

"People pleaded for his life. Kids were out there seeing that. Nobody should have to witness that."

Thousands of protesters took to the streets as part of growing unrest sparked by the distressing video of Mr Floyd's arrest.

Demonstrators torched a Minneapolis police station and Minnesota governor Tim Walz earlier activated the US National Guard at the Minneapolis mayor’s request.

But it was not immediately clear when and where the Guard was being deployed, and none could be seen during protests in Minneapolis or neighbouring St Paul.

Speaking about the protests, Philonise Floyd said: "They have pain. They have the same pain that I feel. I want everybody to be peaceful but I can't make everybody be peaceful."

Mr Floyd's calls for the officers to be arrested were also made yesterday by his sister, Bridgett Floyd, who appealed for a harsher punishment than their dismissal from the police department.

Ms Floyd told Hoda Kotb on the Today programme in the US: "I would like for those officers to be charged with murder because that's exactly what they did. They murdered my brother. He was crying for help. I don't need them to be suspended and able to work in another state or another county.

"Their license should be taken away, their jobs should be taken away, and they should be put in jail for murder."

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