27 Apr 2024

America: Black Man Dies in US After Police Pin Him Down, Kneel On Neck, Evoking Memories of George Floyd Tragedy

Video footage released by Ohio police depicts the final moments of Frank Tyson, a Black man who tragically passed away at a local hospital after repeatedly gasping "I can't breathe" while officers restrained him on the floor of a bar and handcuffed him. The incident is reminiscent of the haunting events surrounding George Floyd's death in 2020.

The Canton Police Department unveiled body camera footage on Thursday, revealing the encounter with Tyson, 53, who was suspected of fleeing the scene of a single-car accident on April 18.

The department has yet to comment on the released video or provide further details regarding the incident.

The 36-minute recording begins with a patrol officer discovering a car collision involving an electrical pole, with a witness indicating that the driver had sought refuge in a nearby tavern.

Subsequently, officers enter the establishment and encounter Tyson at the bar. A struggle ensues as they attempt to restrain him, with Tyson repeatedly alleging, "They are trying to kill me" and calling for assistance.

During the altercation, officers wrestle Tyson to the ground and handcuff him, with one officer seen applying pressure to his back near the neck region for approximately 30 seconds.

Throughout the ordeal, Tyson pleads, "I can't breathe. Get off my neck," while an officer insists, "Calm down" and reassures him, "You're fine," before withdrawing.

The footage depicts Tyson lying motionless, face down on the floor for about six minutes, as officers engage with other patrons in the bar.

Officers find him unresponsive

Concerned about Tyson's condition, officers eventually check on him, finding him unresponsive. They audibly inquire about his breathing and pulse.

Eight minutes after being handcuffed, officers remove the restraints and commence CPR. Paramedics subsequently arrive, transporting Tyson from the scene on a stretcher and into an awaiting ambulance, as shown in the video.

Tyson was pronounced dead at a local hospital

Tyson was pronounced dead at a local hospital, as reported by WKYC, an NBC affiliate in Cleveland. Reuters has yet to independently verify this information, and the official cause of death remains undetermined.

The officers involved in Tyson's case, identified as Beau Schoenegge and Camden Burch, were placed on paid administrative leave, according to WKYC. The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is currently probing the incident, though calls to the agency were not immediately returned.

Chief investigator Harry Campbell with the Stark County Coroner’s Office said an autopsy was conducted earlier in the week and Tyson’s remains were released to a funeral home.

Tyson was released from state prison on April 6 after serving 24 years on a kidnapping and theft case and was almost immediately declared a post-release control supervision violator for failing to report to a parole officer, according to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

A Tyson family member reached by phone Thursday declined immediate comment.

Incident evokes memories of Floyd tragedy

The tragic incident evokes memories of Floyd's fatal encounter with Minneapolis police four years ago. Floyd's death, captured on cellphone video, sparked global protests against police brutality and racial injustice.

In the viral footage of the Floyd's death, a white officer, Derek Chauvin, is seen kneeling on Floyd's neck for over nine minutes, despite Floyd's pleas of "I can't breathe," until Floyd falls silent.

Chauvin and three other officers were eventually convicted of manslaughter and other charges.

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