Barack Obama responds to George Floyd death saying 'it should not happen in 2020'

29 May 2020, 17:52

Barack Obama has shared a statement
Barack Obama has shared a statement. Picture: Getty

By Maddie Goodfellow

Barack Obama has responded to the death of George Floyd, saying it "should not be normal in 2020 America".

The former president released a statement on Friday, saying that being treated differently because of race is "painfully, maddeningly normal" for millions of Americans.

George Floyd, 46, died on Monday, after officers stopped him believing him to match the description of a man who had forged a document at a local Deli.

Hundreds took to the streets of the city on Tuesday demanding justice for Mr Floyd, after video shared online of the arrest showed him pleading with an officer who was kneeling on his neck.

A handcuffed-Mr Floyd can be herd pleading with the officer: "Please, please, please, I can't breathe. Please, man".

But the officer remained kneeling on his neck for around eight minutes, even after Mr Floyd became motionless.

Obama said in his statement: "It's natural to wish for life 'to just get back to normal' as a pandemic and economic crisis upend everything around us. But we have to remember that for millions of Americans, being treated differently on account of race is tragically, painfully, maddeningly 'normal'".

The former president cites examples of incidents when people have been treated different because of their race — "dealing with the health care system, or interacting with the criminal justice system, or jogging down the street, or just watching birds in a park."

He continues: "This shouldn't be 'normal' in 2020 America. It can't be 'normal'. If we want our children to grow up in a nation that lives up to its highest ideals, we can and must be better."

In the statement, Obama also shares parts of the conversations he has had with friends in the days since the footage emerged.

He said an African American businessman told him how the incident hurt him and how he cried and broke down when he saw the video.

"The 'knee on the neck' is a metaphor for how the system so cavalierly holds black folks down, ignoring the cries for help. People don't care. Truly tragic," the man wrote.

Protesters torch Minneapolis police station after black man's death

On Friday, troops were deployed to Minneapolis as protestors continued to clash with police following a third night of violence.

Donald Trump had already threatened to deploy the military to Minneapolis to "shoot" rioters.

On Friday, the president tweeted: "The National Guard has arrived on the scene. They are in Minneapolis and fully prepared. George Floyd will not have died in vain. Respect his memory!!!"

Photos show the National Guard on the streets of Minneapolis and St. Paul as protests continue after the death of George Floyd which has caused widespread destruction and fires.

On Thursday, Demonstrators broke into a police station in the city's 3rd precinct after police officers abandoned the building "in the interest of the safety of our personnel" according to a spokesperson.

A livestream video showed protesters breaking in, setting the building ablaze and igniting fireworks as fire alarms blared and sprinklers ran.

The station has become the scene of numerous demonstrations by those angered at the video showing 46-year-old George Floyd's arrest.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Jeremy Clarkson has broken his silence after it emerged that he, James May and Richard Hammond were set to leave the Grand Tour

Jeremy Clarkson breaks silence with good news despite leaving Grand Tour alongside Richard Hammond and James May

Police clashed with Legia Warsaw fans on Thursday night

Police officer set on fire and three more hurt after Polish football fans unleash 'planned violence' at Aston Villa game

King Charles in Dubai

Charles to tell world leaders 'the Earth does not belong to us' at Cop28 as he 'prays for action on climate'

Israel Palestinians

Israel announces resumption of combat in Gaza Strip as truce with Hamas expires

Parts of the UK are set to see 5cm of snow on Friday

Brits to get 5cm of snow as temperatures plummet to -10C, as warning issued for drivers amid freezing conditions

The IDF said fighting had resumed

Israel-Hamas war restarts as truce deadline expires, as both sides blame each other for breaching ceasefire terms

Released prisoner

Israeli military confirms release of six more hostages in Gaza Strip

Rishi Sunak will call for an "era of action" on the climate

Sunak to call for 'era of action' on climate at Cop28 - despite watering down green measures at home

Omid Scobie has insisted he never sent out a book including two royals' names amid racism allegations

Dutch translator on Omid Scobie's Endgame insists she was sent manuscript with two royals' names in race row

Lloyds banking group is closing more branches in 2024.

Lloyds group to close 45 branches as Labour pledges to keep banks back on the high street - is your local affected?

Hall and Oates

Hall and Oates row: Judge extends pause on Oates’ sale of stake in business

Hamas has claimed Israel is refusing to take back the bodies of the Bibas family

Hamas releases propaganda video of father of 10-month-old Kfir Bibas saying Israel refuses to take his family's bodies

Police clashed with Legia Warsaw fans

Three officers injured as Polish football fans unleash 'planned and systematic violence' on police ahead of Villa game

William and Kate dazzled on the red carpet as they brushed off Scobie's claims

William and Kate all smiles on red carpet as royals brush aside storm around Omid Scobie's book Endgame

Opec sign

Saudi Arabia extends cut in oil it sends to world in bid to boost prices

An 18-month row over pay, job security and conditions has come to an end, for now

'Provoke us again and we will respond in kind': Mick Lynch issues new threat to government after pay deal halts strikes