Story at a glance

  • Joe Biden, the presumptive 2020 Democratic presidential nominee, voiced support for protestors in Minneapolis.
  • He addresses the systemic racism that contributed to Floyd's death.

The death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer is reminding Americans of their country’s “ugly underbelly,” former vice president and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said Thursday. 

CBS reports that Biden made these comments during a star-studded virtual campaign fundraiser, which was hosted by Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and actress Whoopi Goldberg. 

"We can't ignore that we are in a country with an open wound right now — a wound far older and deeper than…George Floyd's killing — and his brutal, brutal death captured on film,” the former Delaware senator said. “His final words, pleading for breathe. 'Let me breathe, I can't breathe.' It's ripped open anew this — this ugly underbelly of our society.”

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The death of George Floyd has sparked protests across the nation. Floyd, 46, was arrested by four Minneapolis police officers after he was suspected of check forgery. 

During the arrest, one of the officers, Derek Chauvin, kneeled on Floyd’s neck, pinning him to the asphalt, as Floyd audibly cried out for air. 

Floyd was pronounced dead later that evening, and all four arresting officers have been terminated.

Strikingly similar to the 2014 death of Eric Garner in New York, Floyd’s death has sparked calls for action across the country. Civil rights advocates have spoken out, and many have demonstrated against the incident and the city’s response, demanding justice for Floyd. 

Last night, protests in Minneapolis grew violent, resulting in mass looting and a fire at the Minneapolis Police Department’s 3rd Precinct.

Biden stated that people “are enraged, and rightly so,” and explained the toll systemic racism has on black Americans.

"Every day African Americans go about their lives with [the] constant anxiety and trauma of wondering 'Will I be next?' Sounds like an exaggeration, but it's not,” Biden explained. “These tragedies, these injustices cut at the very heart of our most sacred of beliefs — that all Americans, equal in rights and in dignity, are part of an ingrained systemic cycle of racism and oppression that throughout every part of our society."


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The former vice president continued, echoing calls for justice for Floyd.

"We need to make sure justice is real for the Floyd family, that the protections and the rule of law are real for every American, that officers in the Floyd case must be held accountable, including with the FBI investigation and independent Department of Justice civil rights investigation,” the Biden said.

Meanwhile, President Trump condemned the violent protests overtaking Minneapolis, and threatened military intervention, 

 

 

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Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) issued an executive order on Thursday sending the state’s National Guard to Minneapolis upon the protests turning violent.

“While many Minnesotans are taking extensive safety precautions while exercising their right to protest, the demonstration last night became incredibly unsafe for all involved,” Walz said. “The purpose of the National Guard is to protect people, to protect people safely demonstrating, and to protect small business owners.”


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Published on May 29, 2020