WASHINGTON — Former President Barack Obama has issued a statement about the death of George Floyd, saying that this "shouldn't be "normal" in 2020 America."
Floyd died Monday after being held down under the knee of a police officer in Minneapolis. The incident was caught on camera and led to the firing of four police officers.
Obama's statement comes after days of protests in Minneapolis and several other cities across America demanding justice for Floyd.
"This shouldn't be 'normal' in 2020 America," Obama's statement reads. "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."
The former president also shared a conversation he had with a friend over the past few days after watching the viral video which shows Floyd, who was black, on the ground with his hands cuffed behind his back while Officer Chauvin presses him to the pavement with his knee on Floyd's neck. The video shows Chauvin, who is white, holding Floyd down for minutes as Floyd complains he can't breathe.
Bystanders can be heard begging the officer to take his knee off Floyd's neck. The video ends with paramedics lifting a limp Floyd onto a stretcher and placing him in an ambulance.
"Dude I gotta tell you the George Floyd incident in Minnesota hurt. I cried when I saw that video. It broke me down," Obama's statement said, quoting an email from a friend. "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."
Obama's also mentioned 12-year-old Keedron Bryant who went viral singing about the frustrations he's feeling during this uncertain time.
"The situations of my friend and Keedrom may be different, but their anguish is the same," he said.