A mayor in Mississippi sparked outrage when he tweeted an insensitive comment about George Floyd, the Black man who was killed in police custody.
Floyd, 46, died from asphyxia when ex-cop Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly 8 minutes. Floyd died at the scene on Monday, May 25.
Hal Marx, the mayor of Petal, MS, said Floyd’s trachea was not obstructed by the officer’s knee, because when Floyd said he couldn’t breathe, that proved he was breathing.
Marx made the comment on Twitter on Wednesday.
“I didn’t see anything unreasonable. If you can say you can’t breathe, you’re breathing,” Marx tweeted. Marx added, “Most likely that man died of overdose or heart attack. Video doesn’t show his resistance that got him in that position. Police being crucified.”
Following the backlash, Marx tried to clear up what he wrote, saying his tweet was “misinterpreted,” and no one knows for sure how Floyd died.
“I think that people are so quick to judge the police before they have all the facts,” he told the Hattiesburg American.
“I can’t say whether a crime was committed or whether they did anything right or wrong, all I’m saying is don’t rush to judgment based on what you see in that video.”
Clarence Magee, president of the Forrest County NAACP, said the mayor’s comment was uncalled for. “To hear that statement made by a mayor or anybody is very troubling,” he said.
The tweet has since been deleted.