Australian senator called George Floyd a thug, criminal in speech urging legislature to declare ‘All Lives Matter’
A far-right senator in Australia referred to George Floyd as “a thug” while calling on the country’s legislature to declare “All Lives Matter” during a speech on Thursday.
“What upsets me of the attitude of people black and white that his death matters more because he was black,” the senator, Pauline Hanson, a member of a far-right political party in the country known as One Nation, said before Parliament on early Thursday, according to coverage by CBS News and Agence France-Presse.
The comments by Hanson reportedly came as the senator urged lawmakers to pass legislation acknowledging that “All Lives Matter” — a phrase that has been used, in many cases by non-black people, in counter to “Black Lives Matter,” which is intended to bring attention to the disproportionate rates at which black people are killed by police and jailed in the United States.
During her remarks on Thursday, Hanson also reportedly said she was “sickened” to “see people holding up signs saying Black Lives Matter in memory of this American criminal.”
“Where is the outrage for white people?” she also asked, according to 7news, before going on to point to the highly-publicized police killing of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, an unarmed Australian American woman who was fatally shot by a police officer in Minneapolis in 2017.
Damond had called the cops to report a possible assault outside her home and was shot by then-police officer Mohamed Noor while holding a cellphone. Noor, a black man, was sentenced to roughly 12 years in prison in 2019, according to CNN, after being charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Minneapolis officials also agreed to $20 million to Damond’s family last year as part of a settlement.
Hanson also reportedly took aim at protesters for violating local coronavirus restrictions, saying: “Activists were allowed to breach COVID-19 restrictions without punishment, even as the same restrictions are devastating jobs, businesses and lives.”
“It’s a grave insult to all law-abiding Australians,” she continued.
Her comments come as protests against racism and police brutality have continued around the world for the past few weeks following the deaths of Floyd and other African Americans.
Floyd died in Minneapolis in late May after a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, was seen kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes during an arrest. In footage from the arrest, Floyd, who was unarmed at the time, could be heard telling Chauvin he couldn’t breathe as the officer continued to kneel on his neck.
Chauvin, who was fired shortly after footage of the arrest surfaced online, has since been arrested and charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Three other officers who were on the scene have been charged with aiding and abetting.
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