Denver Nuggets rookie Michael Porter Jr. weighed on the death of George Floyd, who was killed during an incident with Minneapolis police officers on Monday, tweeting a call for people to “pray for the police officer(s)” involved as much as they were praying for Floyd’s devastated family.
“As much as you pray for George family, gotta also pray for the police officer(s) who were involved in this evil. As hard as it is, pray for them instead of hate them...Pray that God changes their hearts,” Porter wrote.
Meanwhile, protests have erupted in Minneapolis and other cities condemning Floyd’s death. Basketball star LeBron James also weighed in on Floyd’s death on social media, suggesting that deaths like Floyd’s were the reason why former NFL player Colin Kaepernick protested during the national anthem by taking a knee.
James posted an image on his Instagram showing an officer kneeling on Floyd, alongside a picture of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeling before a game. The picture reads, “This… …Is Why.”
“Do you understand NOW!!??!!?? Or is it still blurred to you?? #StayWoke,” the Los Angeles Lakers player added in the caption of his post.
Before he died after being pinned for minutes beneath a Minneapolis police officer's knee, George Floyd was suffering the same fate as millions of Americans during the coronavirus pandemic: out of work and looking for a new job.
Floyd moved to Minneapolis from his native Houston several years ago in hopes of finding work and starting a new life, said Christopher Harris, Floyd's lifelong friend. But he lost his job as a bouncer at a restaurant when Minnesota's governor issued a stay-at-home order.
On Monday night, an employee at a Minneapolis grocery store called police after Floyd allegedly tried to pass a counterfeit $20 bill.
In widely circulated cellphone video of the subsequent arrest, Floyd, who was black, can be seen on the ground with his hands cuffed behind his back while Officer Derek Chauvin presses him to the pavement with his knee on Floyd's neck. The video shows Chauvin, who is white, holding Floyd down for minutes as Floyd complains he can't breathe. The video ends with paramedics lifting a limp Floyd onto a stretcher and placing him in an ambulance.
Four Minneapolis officers involved in the arrest of Floyd who died in police custody were fired Tuesday, hours after a bystander’s video showed an officer kneeling on the handcuffed man’s neck, even after he pleaded that he could not breathe and stopped moving.
Mayor Jacob Frey announced the firings on Twitter, saying "This is the right call.”
Floyd’s death Monday night was under investigation by the FBI and state law enforcement authorities.
Christopher Harris, Floyd's lifelong friend said, “The way he died was senseless.”
“He begged for his life. He pleaded for his life. When you try so hard to put faith in this system, a system that you know isn't designed for you, when you constantly seek justice by lawful means and you can't get it, you begin to take the law into your own hands.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported in Los Angeles.