Promising to bring real police reform if elected president, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said Friday that he had spoken with the family of George Floyd, the African American man killed by Minneapolis police officers on Monday.
“The original sin of this country still stains our nation today,” the former vice president said in a video message from his Delaware home, referring to more than 400 years of “Black men, Black women, Black children” whose potential was “wiped out unnecessarily.”
“Everyday African Americans go about their lives with constant anxiety and trauma wondering who will be next ... The anger and frustration and the exhaustion is undeniable.”
Protests broke out nationwide after video showed a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck despite his pleas that he could not breathe. The officer, Derek Chauvin, was fired from his post after the incident and taken into custody Friday on murder and manslaughter charges.
After days of protests, Minneapolis was in flames Thursday night as some people set fire to the Minneapolis Police Department’s 3rd Precinct building. Other local businesses were set on fire as people broke into stores and threw fireworks at law enforcement.
President Donald Trump responded by tweeting that the protesters were “THUGS” and called for shooting any looters.
Biden did not mention Trump by name in his remarks, but explicitly censured the president’s response to Floyd’s death, saying this was not the time for “incendiary tweets” or “inciting violence.”
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz also said Trump’s comments were “just not helpful.”
“In the moment where we’re at, in a moment that is so volatile, anything we do to add fuel to that fire is really, really challenging,” Walz said.
Biden’s presidential campaign has proposed allocating $300 million for the Community Oriented Policing Services program, which he argues has been underfunded, as well as directing the Department of Justice to hold police departments accountable for excessive use of force and other civil rights violations.
View Biden’s remarks below.