Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Weighs in on George Floyd's Death, Criticizes 'Impunity of Police Violence'

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has joined the chorus of people condemning the actions of four Minneapolis Police officers following a black man's death a short while after being restrained.

George Floyd, 46, died after he was arrested and placed in custody in the 3700 block of Chicago Avenue South at around 8 p.m. on Monday.

A video of the incident, which has since gone viral, shows a white officer kneeling on the neck of Floyd during the arrest, while Floyd repeatedly tells officers that he can't breathe.

"You're f******g stopping his breathing right there, bro," one man off-camera can be heard telling the officers during the nine-minute clip. "You could have out him in the car by now, he's not resisting arrest or nothing."

Around five minutes into the video, Floyd appears to lose consciousness while the officer's knee is still on his neck, with onlookers repeatedly urging police to check his pulse.

The officer's knee remains on Floyd's neck until paramedics arrive and place him into an ambulance. Floyd was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center by ambulance, where he was pronounced dead a short time later.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey confirmed that the four officers involved in the death of George Floyd have been fired. "This is the right call," he added.

Rep. Ocasio Cortez has since criticized the officers, believing that he would still be alive if it wasn't for the "status quo" of police brutality against black people.

"Instead, he was killed as he begged police for his life," she tweeted.

"The impunity of police violence is a systemic problem we must face to save lives. Police brutality is now a leading cause of death for young Black men in the US. The status quo is killing us."

The New York Congresswoman is one of a number of people to have voiced their outrage at the death of the 47-year-old.

Presumptive 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden tweeted: "George Floyd deserved better and his family deserves justice. His life mattered.

"I'm grateful for the swift action in Minneapolis to fire the officers involved—they must be held responsible for their egregious actions."

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz described the "lack of humanity" in the video as "sickening." He added: "We will get answers and seek justice."

Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar said: "We can't excuse summary executions in America. We just can't!" while calling for a full investigation from the Department of Justice.

Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, whose desperate cries of "I can't breathe" while being restrained by police were also echoed by Floyd, described the incident in Minneapolis as "déjà vu all over again."

Garner died in July 2014 after being put in a chokehold by NYPD officers while being arrested for allegedly selling illegal cigarettes.

"It's like a reoccurring nightmare," Carr told NBC News.

"I don't see any justification. To put your knee on someone's neck, you are obstructing their breathing. That is completely a no-no."

In a statement, the Congressional Black Caucus George Floyd said was killed for the "crime [of] being a Black man in America."

"How many times will the police officers be the judge, jury, and executioner towards our people? How many times will our human rights be violated? It is unacceptable to threaten and take our lives because you feel threatened by the color of our skin," the statement added.

"Our community can no longer be targeted, attacked, and killed with impunity. Being Black in America should not be a death sentence."

The Minneapolis Police Department said Floyd was detained after officers responded to a report of a forgery in progress, and later found a suspect sitting on top of a blue car who appeared to be under the influence.

"He was ordered to step from his car. 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.

"At no time were weapons of any type used by anyone involved in this incident."

The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has launched an investigation into the incident.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) speaks during a campaign event with Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) at La Poste January 26, 2020 in Perry, Iowa. Chip Somodevilla/Getty