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

A major UK-founded network of fake websites was infiltrated by police.

Police infiltrate UK-founded network of fake websites after almost half a million tricked into handing over card details

Defence spending will not be increased until after the general election

Jeremy Hunt admits Britain needs to increase defence spending – but no extra cash will be given before next election

Election 2024 Biden

Joe Biden speaks of WWII history as he calls Donald Trump unfit to lead military

Mark Menzies

Tory MP Mark Menzies gives up whip after investigation launched over claims he misused campaign funds

Samantha Davis, the wife of Star Wars and Harry Potter actor Warwick Davis, has died aged 53.

Harry Potter star Warwick Davis pays tribute to 'favourite human' wife Samantha after her death aged 53

A Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner

Boeing faces Senate scrutiny during back-to-back hearings on safety culture

Harry has made the US his primary residence

Prince Harry cuts ties with UK as he makes surprise change to official documents

Pointe performance

Ballerinas set world record at New York’s Plaza Hotel

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt split two years after getting married.

Angelina Jolie accuses Brad Pitt of ‘bleeding her finances dry’ - despite ‘$100m boost to her fortune’

OJ Simpson in 1994

OJ Simpson has been cremated, says lawyer handling his estate

People protest against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government and call for the release of hostages held in the Gaza Strip by the Hamas militant group in Tel Aviv, Israel

Netanyahu brushes off calls for restraint in response to Iran’s attack

Ben Elton has criticised Liz Truss

Liz Truss' resurgence shows the 'depressing level of politics we've arrived at', says comedian Ben Elton

Israeli PMBenjamin Netanyahu has said his country will be the one to decide how to respond to Iran's major air assault

Israel 'will make own decisions' in response to Iran attack, says Benjamin Netanyahu after meeting with David Cameron

Tributes have poured in for a father and son who died in a house fire on Saturday.

‘Our very own superhero’: Tributes pour in for ‘devoted daddy’ after he died trying to save son, 4, from Wigan house fire

Peel Police Deputy Chief Nick Milinovich speaks to the media at a news conference regarding an investigation into the theft of gold from Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, in Brampton, Ontario,

Nine people facing charges over ‘largest gold heist in Canadian history’

Karol G during the 24th annual Latin Grammy Awards in Seville, Spain, in 2023

2024 Latin Grammys will return home to Miami after controversial move to Spain