Former Vice President Joe Biden on Friday told his supporters that he had a conversation with the family of George Floyd, the black man who was killed on Monday after a police interaction.
Likewise, Reuters reported on Friday afternoon, President Donald Trump said he’d spoken to members of Floyd’s family. The president has taken a deep interest in the case, first prodding the Justice Department to swifly undertake an investigation of the Minneapolis death, then tweeting sharp criticisms of violent protesters, political leaders who’ve let the situation spiral out of control, and looters who’ve used widespread protests of that death as an occasion to steal.
For his part, Biden, Trump’s likely Democratic opponent in the race for the presidency, called the relatives of the deceased a “close, decent, honorable family.”
“We need justice for George Floyd,” Biden said in a video address on Friday.
Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died on Monday in Minneapolis after Office Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for an extended period of time, even as Floyd conveyed that he was unable to breathe.
In a viral video, Floyd can be heard saying, “I can’t breathe.”
Four officers have been fired in connection with the death. And on Friday, as protests escalated in Minneapolis and other cities, Chauvin was arrested and charged with murder.
“We need real police reform, to hold cops to a higher standard that so many of them actually meet, that holds bad cops accountable and repairs relationships between law enforcement and the community they’re sworn to protect,” Biden said.
Following Floyd’s death, protests broke out in Minnesota, then in other parts of the country like New York and Los Angeles.
The charges against the officer include third-degree murder and manslaughter.
In Trump’s tweets, the president spoke out against the way the protests have unfolded, dubbing them damaging to a great American city and disrespectful to the victim’s memory.
“I can’t stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis. A total lack of leadership. Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right,” Trump tweeted.
In a second tweet, Trump wrote: “These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!”
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