Former President Barack Obama issues statement on George Floyd

  • In US
  • 2020-05-29 16:56:00Z
  • By ABC News
Former President Barack Obama issues statement on George Floyd
Former President Barack Obama issues statement on George Floyd  

Former President Barack Obama put out a statement on George Floyd, a black man who died after being pinned down by police in Minneapolis.

"This shouldn't be 'normal' in 2020 America," he wrote. "It can't be 'normal.' If we want our children to grow up in a nation that lives up to its highest ideals, we can and must be better."

Obama said this in reference to the point that many people in America would like life to go back to "normal" in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. But, he wrote, "being treated differently on account of race is tragically, painfully, maddeningly 'normal'" for millions of Americans.

MORE: How viral videos of killings of black men take a toll on black male mental health

This difference, he wrote, comes "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 the park." Those last two points seemingly reference Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man who was shot and killed by two white men while on a jog in Georgia in February, and an incident in New York City's Central Park this week in which a white woman called the police on a black man who asked her to leash her dog.

Floyd died after being apprehended by police Monday. A video that went viral shows an officer pinning his knee to Floyd's neck as he is on the ground, saying, "I can't breathe." The four officers involved have been fired, and investigations are ongoing. No charges have yet been announced.

His death in police custody has led to outrage across the nation and protests in many cities, including in Minneapolis, where violence has broken out over several nights this week.

MORE: Protesters clash with Minneapolis police following death of black man seen pinned down in video

In the statement that he posted to social media Friday, the former president also referenced conversations he has "had with friends over the past couple days about the footage of George Floyd dying face down on the street under the knee of a police officer in Minnesota."

These conversations included an email from "a middle-aged African American businessman" who wrote, "'the knee on the neck' is a metaphor for how the system so cavalierly holds black folks down, ignoring the cries for help."

MORE: 12-year-old sings moving song about being young African American following George Floyd's death

He also referenced a video of 12-year-old Keedron Bryant singing a gospel song with lyrics written by his mother about being a young black man in America, and wrote that Keedron and Obama's friend share the same "anguish," as do Obama himself and "millions of others."

Ultimately, Obama wrote, it is up to officials in Minnesota to thoroughly investigate and seek justice for Floyd's death. But, he wrote, it is up to everyone "to work together to create a 'new normal' in which the legacy of bigotry and unequal treatment no longer infects our institutions or our hearts."

MORE: Twitter flags Trump, White House for 'glorifying violence' in tweets about George Floyd protests

President Donald Trump said Thursday that he has not spoken to Floyd's family, but that he feels "very, very badly" and that what he saw in the video of Floyd's death "was not good, very bad." Attorney General Bill Barr and Trump are monitoring a Department of Justice investigation, according to officials.

On Friday morning, the president tweeted about the protests in Minneapolis, saying that "thugs are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd" and, referencing the military, that "when the looting starts, the shooting starts." This tweet was flagged by the social media platform as "glorifying violence."

Former President Barack Obama issues statement on George Floyd originally appeared on


More Related News

Minneapolis council members pledge thoughtful police revamp
Minneapolis council members pledge thoughtful police revamp
  • US
  • 2020-07-09 00:49:39Z

Members of the Minneapolis City Council are pledging a thoughtful approach to their proposal to dismantle the city's police department following the killing of George Floyd. Council members sought Wednesday to reassure the Minneapolis Charter Commission, with some commissioners expressing concerns that the council was rushing to push through the proposal so voters can decide it in the November election. The proposal would eliminate the Minneapolis Police Department and replace it with a new agency, the Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention.

U.S. Supreme Court allows broader religious exemption to birth control coverage
U.S. Supreme Court allows broader religious exemption to birth control coverage
  • US
  • 2020-07-08 14:20:00Z

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday endorsed a plan by President Donald Trump's administration to give employers broad religious and moral exemptions from a federal mandate that health insurance they provide employees covers women's birth control. The court ruled 7-2 against the states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, which challenged the legality of the administration's 2018 rule weakening the so-called contraceptive mandate of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare, that has drawn the ire of Christian conservatives. The mandate requires that employer-provided health insurance include coverage for birth control with no co-pays.

Cancel culture: What unites young people against Obama and Trump
Cancel culture: What unites young people against Obama and Trump

The push to bring down memorials has renewed criticisms of "cancel culture" from current and past presidents.

Young Black voters say they aren
Young Black voters say they aren't enthusiastic about a Joe Biden presidency

Joe Biden has touted his record supporting the African American community. But young Black voters want to see more from Biden.

Trump increasingly turning to executive orders, more to come
Trump increasingly turning to executive orders, more to come
  • World
  • 2020-07-07 17:15:08Z

President Donald Trump is setting a brisk pace lately in issuing executive orders and he's just getting started as he tries to position himself as a man of action on everything from foreign policy to racial justice in an election year. Trump has so far issued 33 executive orders this year, though he was a critic of such actions when running for office. Mark Meadows, Trump's chief of staff, says the president is considering more orders in coming days dealing with topics such as immigration, jobs and China.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


Top News: US