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3 recordings. 3 cries of 'I can't breathe.' 3 black men dead after interactions with police

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo rejected the idea that the two officers who lacked experience on his force are less culpable in George Floyd's killing, saying Floyd "was expecting humanity" that he did not get that day.

Posted: Jun 10, 2020 1:47 PM
Updated: Jun 10, 2020 1:51 PM


In the days since George Floyd's cries that he couldn't breathe tugged at the world's conscience, two similar deadly encounters involving police officers have come to wider public attention.

There are three sets of recordings. Three cries of "I can't breathe." Three black men who died shortly after struggles with law enforcement officers who were trying to arrest them.

Floyd died on Memorial Day in Minneapolis, and bystander video showed a police officer kneeling on the side of his neck as officers tried to subdue him. That sparked days of massive protests in cities across the nation and a sweeping discussion about race relations, reform of policing and more.

Floyd's cries themselves were an echo of Eric Garner, who died in 2014 after pleading that he couldn't breathe while a New York police officer subdued him.

Days after Floyd's death, two other men began to capture national headlines, though they'd died months before.

They were Javier Ambler, who died last year in Austin, Texas, following a vehicle chase; and Manuel Ellis in Tacoma, Washington, who died in March. Both are heard in video or audio recordings saying they couldn't breathe. Both cases are under investigation, and relatives of both men are asking for prosecutions.

In Minnesota, four now-fired officers face charges in Floyd's death, including one charged with second-degree murder.

Here is a look at the other two cases:

Texas: Javier Ambler

Javier Ambler II died following a police encounter in March 2019 -- but police video has shed new light on the incident, including his cries of "I can't breathe."

Body camera video released Monday by the Austin Police Department shows sheriff's deputies from Williamson County arresting Ambler, 40, following a vehicle pursuit.

Austin TV station KVUE and the Austin American-Statesman first reported on the video after months of records requests.

Authorities said the incident started in Texas' Williamson County, with Ambler failing to dim his vehicle's headlights as he drove past a deputy.

The deputy tried to stop Ambler, but Ambler kept driving, ultimately leading officers on a 22-minute chase that ended one county to the south, in the city of Austin, authorities said.

After crashing his vehicle in Austin, Ambler exited with his hands raised, but resisted deputies' attempts to handcuff him and refused to follow commands, a Williamson County Sheriff's Office report says. At least one deputy used a Taser on him, the report says.

An Austin police officer arrived -- and it's his body camera video that was released Monday. By the time he gets there, deputies already are struggling with Ambler.

In the video, Ambler says "I have congestive heart failure," as well as "I can't breathe," several times.

About two minutes after the video first records Ambler saying he has heart failure -- and nearly 90 seconds after he's first heard saying he can't breathe -- deputies appear to have handcuffed Ambler.

But less than 30 seconds after he's handcuffed, officers appear to realize Ambler is unresponsive. An officer is heard saying so in a radio request for emergency medical services.

After officers check for a pulse and find none, Ambler's handcuffs are removed, and officers can be heard administering CPR until medical units arrive.

Ambler was taken to a hospital in Austin, where he was pronounced dead less than an hour after the pursuit ended, according to reports from authorities.

The cause of death was congestive heart failure and hypertensive cardiovascular disease associated with morbid obesity, "in combination with forcible restraint," according to the custodial death report from the office of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

The manner of death was homicide, the report reads.

A production crew from the A&E show "Live PD" was at the arrest scene, having ridden with some of the officers. But the show was not on the air at the time, and the crew's footage never aired, A&E said.

The district attorney of Travis County says she's leading an investigation into Ambler's death, but that it is being "stymied by a lack of cooperation from the Williamson County Sheriff's and 'Live PD.' "

Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore said Monday she has requested body cam videos from the Williamson County Sheriff's Office and the television show, but hasn't been able to obtain them.

The sheriff's office said Tuesday that Moore had made "misleading statements," and that it is willing to participate in her investigation but has not been contacted by her office.

"Any attempt to say we have slowed or otherwise impeded the investigation is absolutely false. We participated fully in the investigation launched by the Austin Police Department, the results of which have been forwarded to the Travis County D.A.," the sheriff's office said.

The Williamson County Sheriff's Department's office of professional standards had concluded that deputies acted "in accordance" with the department's policies.

A&E said Tuesday that neither the network "nor the producers of 'Live PD' were asked for the footage or an interview by investigators from law enforcement or the district attorney's office."

A&E said it had disposed of its unaired footage -- in accordance with policies mean to "avoid having footage used by law enforcement against private citizens" -- after "learning that the investigation had concluded."

No Austin police officers are under investigation, Moore said. She said she intends to present the case to a grand jury this summer.

Jeff Edwards, an attorney for Ambler's family, has called on Moore to prosecute the case.

Ambler's mother, Martiza Ambler, told CNN Tuesday that she knows not all officers are bad, but she would like officers involved in her son's arrest to go to jail, "because they took a life."

"And they use their badge, they use their gun, they use their position to try to overcome people, and it's not right," she said. "So if they need to be retrained in how to arrest people, then they need to do that," she said.

Washington state: Manuel Ellis

In Tacoma, Washington, police tried to arrest Manuel Ellis on March 3, alleging the 33-year-old was "trying to open car doors of occupied vehicles."

A physical altercation ensued, and Ellis had to be restrained, police said.

Police dispatch audio, captured by the website Broadcastify, provides additional details. Officers can be heard asking for hobbles -- a kind of leg restraint. About 50 seconds later, as an officer relays a message to the dispatcher, a male voice can be heard in the background exclaiming, "I can't breathe."

That voice belonged to Ellis, according to James Bible, an attorney for Ellis' family.

Officers called for medical assistance, but Ellis died at the scene.

Ellis' cause of death was respiratory arrest due to hypoxia caused by physical restraint, the Pierce County Medical Examiner's Office determined. Hypoxia is a condition in which the body is deprived of oxygen.

His death has sparked protests in the city of 218,000 located about 30 miles south of Seattle.

The Pierce County Sheriff's Department, which is investigating Ellis' death, did not return CNN's calls seeking comment.

"There were no knees on heads, there was no cutting off of circulation, none of that," department spokesman Ed Troyer told CNN affiliate KIRO. "He was handcuffed, he was talking, he was breathing and throughout the process when he had trouble breathing, officers set him on his side and got him help."

Two videos from a bystander, posted on social media, also appear to show parts of the encounter.

One video appears to show officers striking a black man as he lies on the ground. A second video appears to show officers holding the man while he's on the ground and telling him to put his hands behind his back. Bible says the man is Ellis.

Four police officers have been placed on administrative leave. None faces charges.

Ellis' family is calling for four officers to be fired and prosecuted.

Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodard has called for the same, spurring backlash from the local police union, which accuses her of a rush to judgment.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 515504

Reported Deaths: 10296
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34999558
DeSoto33360432
Hinds32743643
Jackson24906392
Rankin22565405
Lee16455245
Madison14954283
Jones14158248
Forrest13834260
Lauderdale12311323
Lowndes11357193
Lamar10693140
Pearl River9748244
Lafayette8868143
Hancock7849132
Washington7559169
Oktibbeha7229138
Monroe7068179
Pontotoc7033110
Warren6885178
Panola6791135
Neshoba6744210
Marshall6707142
Bolivar6468151
Union643598
Pike5942157
Alcorn5921107
Lincoln5540136
George510680
Prentiss508285
Tippah495683
Itawamba4884107
Scott478999
Tate4777117
Adams4776125
Leflore4749144
Copiah458195
Yazoo458092
Simpson4566117
Wayne443472
Covington434895
Sunflower4319106
Marion4295112
Coahoma4244110
Leake414191
Newton396182
Tishomingo386894
Grenada3789109
Stone366166
Jasper341266
Attala340490
Chickasaw318367
Winston318392
Clay312978
Clarke301695
Calhoun286850
Holmes272889
Smith270552
Yalobusha244947
Tallahatchie232353
Greene225149
Walthall222166
Lawrence220242
Perry214556
Amite210357
Webster206548
Noxubee188843
Montgomery182157
Carroll175441
Jefferson Davis174343
Tunica163539
Benton153139
Kemper145441
Choctaw137027
Claiborne134839
Humphreys132239
Franklin126530
Quitman107828
Wilkinson106139
Jefferson97134
Sharkey65321
Issaquena1957
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 848137

Reported Deaths: 16185
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1164052005
Mobile743681384
Madison53497738
Shelby38435371
Baldwin38195589
Tuscaloosa36152644
Montgomery34562782
Lee25655264
Calhoun22630520
Morgan22530411
Etowah20069520
Marshall18846318
Houston17777426
St. Clair16958359
Limestone16195220
Cullman16157306
Elmore15940295
Lauderdale15069307
Talladega14260302
DeKalb13083271
Walker12168380
Blount10779193
Autauga10560157
Jackson10214196
Coffee9435192
Colbert9366210
Dale9044192
Tallapoosa7285202
Russell710065
Chilton7090170
Covington6969197
Escambia6967144
Franklin6364108
Chambers5801142
Marion5437132
Dallas5302210
Pike5129109
Clarke485786
Lawrence4850130
Winston4793110
Geneva4655136
Bibb435795
Barbour370680
Butler3444101
Marengo342993
Monroe338366
Randolph337867
Pickens334890
Fayette331785
Henry321166
Cherokee320364
Hale319189
Crenshaw261678
Washington256852
Cleburne255460
Lamar253555
Clay252969
Macon246367
Conecuh193562
Coosa186048
Wilcox178538
Lowndes178468
Bullock152845
Perry141840
Sumter139841
Greene130545
Choctaw94428
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