Former President Barack Obama on Friday responded to the death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd, saying black Americans nationwide are feeling “anguish” that he said is “shared by me and millions of others.”
“This shouldn’t be ‘normal’ in 2020 America. It can’t be ‘normal,'” Obama said in a statement released on Twitter. “If we want our children to grow up in a nation that lives up to its highest ideals, we can and must be better.”
Floyd died Monday during a confrontation with police captured on video recorded by a bystander. The video shows Floyd pleading as officer Derek Chauvin kneels on Floyd’s neck. Since Floyd’s death, protests have erupted across the country.
“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 a park,” Obama wrote.
The former president said Minnesota officials must ensure that Floyd’s death is thoroughly investigated, but he said it “falls on all of us” to “create a new normal in which the legacy of bigotry and unequal treatment no longer infects our institutions or our hearts.”
Four Minneapolis police officers have been fired following Floyd’s death, and Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has activated the National Guard amid protests and looting.