Former President Barack Obama has broken his silence over the death of George Floyd as ongoing protests over police brutality shake the United States.
The 44th president posted a statement on Twitter on Friday, following current President Donald Trump's call for looters to be shot in a tweet that has not been deleted.
He began by sharing an anecdote of a conversation he had with a friend, a middle-aged African American businessman, and their different circumstances.
"We have to remember that for millions of Americans, being treated differently on account of race is tragically, painfully, maddeningly ‘normal’— whether it’s while dealing with the health care system, or interacting with the criminal justice system, or jogging down the street, or just watching birds in park", the president said.
“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 to its highest ideals, we can and must be better", he added.
My statement on the death of George Floyd: pic.twitter.com/Hg1k9JHT6R— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) May 29, 2020
Obama's message comes as several protests in response to the death of George Floyd after his neck was kneeled on by Officer Derek Chauvin.
Footage of the incident emerged last week which showed Floyd begging for his living and saying he can't breathe.
Some of the protests have turned violent, with buildings being burnt down and tear gas used by Minneapolis police in response. On Thursday night, the 3rd Precinct in Minneapolis was burned down and seven people have been shot.
US President Donald Trump announced on Friday that the National Guard had arrived on the scene as the situation escalates. He called for protestors to "respect" Floyd's memory and that he "will not have died in vain".
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!!!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 29, 2020
The Floyd case echoes a similar situation that occurred under the Obama presidency. In 2014 Eric Garnerm, an African American man died in New York City after being put in a chokehold while under arrest.
Garner also notified the police officer that he could not breathe, coining the "I Can't Breathe" slogan which has been used consistently by anti-police brutality demonstrators.