Outrage after school coach mocks George Floyd death by posing with friend's knee on his neck: 'Not dead yet'

Dave Hollenback posted the photos on Facebook and held up 'thumb's up', saying the technique could not have killed Floyd


                            Outrage after school coach mocks George Floyd death by posing with friend's knee on his neck: 'Not dead yet'
(YouTube)
ADVERTISEMENT

A high school wrestling coach from Washington received heavy backlash on social media after sharing a picture of a person's knee pressed into his neck, mocking George Floyd's death. The first-year coach, identified as Dave Hollenback, took to Facebook on Thursday, May 28, to share the image and captioned the post: "Not dead yet."

Four Minneapolis police officers involved in Floyd's brutal death were fired on May 26 after a video of the incident went viral on social media. The footage showed Floyd pleading with officers as one of them, Derek Chauvin, knelt on his neck while the 46-year-old told them to let him stand because he could not breathe. The clip showed Floyd pleading with the officer to allow him to breathe and a few minutes later he became unconscious. Floyd's death has sparked massive protests and unrest in Minneapolis and across the country.

ADVERTISEMENT

Hollenback had shared a picture of himself lying on the floor with another person kneeling on his neck, in a similar position Floyd was rendered unconscious in the video. The wrestling coach, in the picture, can be seen smiling and giving a thumb's up to the camera. He then captioned the image with: "Not dead yet. I’m doing this for our police officers. The media is a race-baiting machine and I’m tired of it." He later made a second post, reading: "This is for all the race baiters and people that don’t know what they’re talking about when they’re saying this could kill you," KIRO7 reported. Both the posts have since been deleted.

ADVERTISEMENT

Hollenback, who was interviewed about his controversial post, defended his remarks and insisted "that technique did not kill that man." He said that he believes Floyd's death did not have anything to do with race. "I stand by the technique is not what killed, my opinion is that that technique did not kill that man," he said.

A protester holds a sign, showing an image from the video of George Floyd's arrest (Getty Images)

ADVERTISEMENT

The coach's post drew heavy criticism from social media users, as one Twitter user called his post 'tone-deaf'. The user wrote: "This is completely tone deaf. He doesn't have a clue of the excessive force that was used. It's a totally different story when you're on a laminate floor and can tap out and have your buddy release whatever small amount of force they were using."

ADVERTISEMENT

An investigation into the posts has been launched by the Bethal School District, which stressed that Hollenbeck was not a teacher nor is he working for the district as the wrestling season has come to an end, according to King TV.

The officer in the video, Chauvin, was arrested on Friday, May 29. The 44-year-old's arrest came on the fourth day of widespread protests and unrest in the region as more demonstrations broke out nationwide. Protests were also seen in Washington DC, resulting in the White House to take measures to lockdown. The criminal complaint of Chauvin's arrest also cited official autopsy results, which concluded that Floyd died from a combination of heart disease and "potential intoxicants in his system" that were exacerbated by the restraint placed on him by police officers.

ADVERTISEMENT

George Floyd's family, however, has called the claims an "illusion" and have hired their own pathologist to conduct a separate autopsy after the official autopsy claimed that the 46-year-old did not die of strangulation or asphyxiation.