"Institutional racism" in American police force to blame for George Floyd death

30 May 2020, 13:07 | Updated: 30 May 2020, 16:28

By Seán Hickey

An American activist has called for protestors in the US to stay peaceful as tensions grow amid the death of George Floyd.

Bonnie Greer is a columnist, author and playwright and she joined Matt Frei to reflect on protests which have spread from Minnesota across the USA after the death of George Floyd, a black man that died in police custody.

Ms Greer shared her concern over the lacklustre address by the Attorney General of Minnesota when announcing the arrest of the officer who knelt on Mr Floyd's neck. She told Matt that "he knows he can get him on this" which is third-degree murder, "but he didn't say that" which meant the public felt as though the case wasn't taken seriously enough.

"It's a failure all the way around" she concluded. Ms Greer warned the American youths taking part in the protests, which in some cases have turned violent against keeping up violence. "My generation did this and paid big time for it" she said, telling listeners that protesters in the 1960s campaigning "lived in rubble for 20 years."

She warned the American youth that "the people we were trying to protest against didn't pay, we paid" and they should take heed from history in this regard.

Some protests have turned into riots after the death of George Floyd
Some protests have turned into riots after the death of George Floyd. Picture: PA

Matt wanted to know if this was "about systematic, institutional racism" in the US rather than the death of one man. Ms Greer pointed out that the problem comes from the top, stating that Donald Trump is "just the wrong person" to be speaking out on this issue.

She added that "police forces in the United States are institutionally racist" and that police forces are generally trained to "keep people in line and they keep ethnic minorities in line" specifically.

Ms Greer told Matt that black Americans are dehumanised by the police in how they are assumed to have a higher pain threshold than the rest of the general population. She said that "if you're a big strong black man they think you can take it" and the case of George Floyd is proof of this.

The activist ended her conversation by telling Americans that they "have to protest, you have to make your voices heard, but don't burn down your own house."