George Floyd death: US police officers caught kneeling on suspected looters' necks during arrests in Seattle

As violent riots responding to the alleged murder of African American man George Floyd continue to rage across the United States, police officers have been captured taking increasingly ruthless measures to control suspected looters amid the escalating conflict.

Footage obtained from social media shows an officer arresting a man, believed to be an alleged looter, using the same tactic that resulted in the death of 46-year-old Floyd on Monday, May 25.

The video, shared to Twitter by visual journalist Matt M. McKnight, captures violent protesters breaking into a T-Mobile store in Seattle, Washington. Looting, as well as arson and vandalism, are becoming increasingly common as businesses are defaced and set alight amid the protests.

Two armed officers can be seen tackling the suspected looter to the ground. The man, clad in an orange jacket, appears visibly distressed as the first officer firmly places his knee on his neck to subdue him.

Onlookers can be heard screaming at the officer to remove his knee.

"Get your f***ing knee off his neck!" a witness can be heard yelling in the background. 

"Get off him! Get your knee off his neck!" screams another. 

The second officer appears to look at the bystanders before forcibly moving his colleague's leg to the centre of the man's back.

The suspect cries out for help, before the second officer appears to address him. The man is then dragged to his feet and taken away.

After onlookers screamed at the officer to stop, his colleague forcibly removed his knee from the suspect's neck.
After onlookers screamed at the officer to stop, his colleague forcibly removed his knee from the suspect's neck. Photo credit: Matt M. McKnight / Twitter

In a separate clip shared by McKnight, two other men believed to be suspected looters are seen being arrested, one of which has his head firmly pushed to the ground by an officer's hand. It appears the cop also puts his knee on the man's neck briefly as a colleague handcuffs the suspect.

On Friday (local time), former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, 44, was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter following the death of Floyd, who had been arrested on suspicion of forgery. Video taken by an onlooker captured Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck for roughly eight minutes as the man pleaded for air. He was pronounced dead shortly after. The police department claimed Floyd had been "physically resisting officers", although surveillance footage from outside a nearby restaurant suggests otherwise. 

All four officers involved in Floyd's death have been fired, although the three others have yet to be charged. 

Floyd's alleged murder is the latest in a string of incidents involving the death of an African American at the hands of white police, inciting widespread riots and protests campaigning for change.

Other widely-circulated footage depicts many incidents of police aggression towards demonstrators, including an NYPD vehicle appearing to deliberately ram protesters in Brooklyn on Saturday (local time) after the car was pelted with debris. Other videos purportedly show people being assaulted by officers, including a clip of a young woman appearing to be violently thrown to the ground by a male cop. Authorities have responded to the riots with rubber bullets and tear gas, weapons many allege are being misused and abused

In an interview over the weekend, New Zealand international law expert Alexander Gillepsie claimed US President Donald Trump has "no interest" in resolving the riots as the chaos provides a perfect distraction from the economic fallout of the COVID-19 crisis, which has killed more than 100,000 Americans and left millions unemployed.