As charges move forward against four Minneapolis police officers involved in the killing of George Floyd, 11 Investigates looked at how their behavior could have happened in the first place.
Channel 11’s Angie Moreschi talked with former FBI Assistant Director Tom Fuentes, who analyzed the video of Floyd’s killing.
"Start to finish, in that nine minutes you see a murder in progress," said Fuentes, who is now a vice president at Morris & McDaniel – a firm that does psychological testing for police applicants around the world.
Fuentes said this is the worst case of police brutality he’s seen in more than 30 years of law enforcement and that former officer Derek Chauvin, who’s now charged with 2nd degree murder, appeared to know exactly what he was doing.
“It was deliberate, he’s entirely in control,” Fuentes said. “You have a nine-minute video of someone having the life suffocated out of them for no reason, with no resistance, no justification.”
Video difficult to watch
In the video, Floyd repeatedly calls out to Chauvin, telling him he can't breathe. Floyd can be heard gasping and saying, "I can't breathe, officer. You gonna kill me. You gonna kill me, man."
Bystanders started recording what was happening and repeatedly pleaded with Chauvin to stop. He ignored them and calmly continued to press his knee on Floyd’s neck.
As Floyd lost consciousness, the bystanders became increasingly desperate – screaming at Chauvin to stop.
Instead of backing off, Chauvin became agitated for a moment – pulling mace from his belt and threatening to spray them – and then continued to kneel on Floyd’s neck for several more minutes.
“What’s wrong with you all? What the (expletive)? He got maced, he got maced,” people in the video said.
Finally, a paramedic arrived and took Floyd’s pulse. He was non-responsive, and Chauvin helped the paramedic put Floyd’s limp body onto a gurney. Chauvin then calmly walked away as Floyd was taken to the ambulance.
Two other officers, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng, helped Chauvin hold Floyd down during the nine minutes. A third, Tou Thao, stood between the people recording and Chauvin.
All three were also fired and have now been charged with aiding and abetting 2nd degree murder.
Fuentes said when he watched the video, Chauvin's behavior told him he is a classic sociopath, exhibiting extreme narcissism.
“You have someone who has no regard for anybody else. He has no regard for the subject he's trying to arrest – no regard for the public at large, no regard to the reputation of his fellow officers that are with him at scene, as well as the 800,000 police officers across the country. He doesn't care about anybody except himself,” Fuentes said.
In the general population, Fuentes said research shows about seven percent of people exhibit some sociopathic behavior, but in applicants for law enforcement that number jumps up to more than 40%.
Fuentes said the key to stopping police brutality is preventing these types of individuals who seek out power over others from being hired in the first place.
“This officer is a sociopath. He never should have been hired as a police officer,” Fuentes said.
Fuentes said, unfortunately, all of law enforcement is being stained by the bad actions of a few.
He said part of the answer is for police departments to be more proactive in screening applicants, so they don’t hire individuals with sociopathic tendencies.
“You cannot train a pit bull to become a French poodle. If you hire somebody with those kind of character traits, they’re still going to have that character trait and they’re going to be a ticking time bomb on the street,” Fuentes said.
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