The country is mourning the death of yet another black person who was killed by police, and former President Barack Obama is among those grieving. After a black man named George Floyd was killed in an altercation with police on May 25, the Minneapolis Police Department swiftly fired all four officers involved. On May 29, the former president took to social media to share his thoughts, and Barack Obama's statement about George Floyd is absolutely heartbreaking.
The incident that resulted in Floyd's death was caught on video, which showed a white police officer kneeling on Floyd's neck for several minutes as Floyd was heard repeating, "I can't breathe," and three other officers stood by. Floyd was subsequently transported to the Hennepin County Medical Center, and was pronounced dead later on May 25. According to The New York Times, the Minneapolis Police Department quickly identified and fired the four police officers involved in Floyd's death, but hundreds of protesters then took to the streets in Minneapolis to demand that charges be brought against the officers in question. On the afternoon of May 29, the officer who was filmed kneeling on Floyd — Derek Chauvin — was taken into custody and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, according to an announcement from Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman. Elite Daily attempted to reach a lawyer representing Chauvin for comment on the charges, but did not immediately hear back.
In response to Floyd's death, Obama issued a heartbreaking statement on May 29, in which he reflected on conversations he'd had with friends and condemned the fact that "for millions of Americans, being treated differently on account of race is tragically, painfully, maddeningly 'normal.'"
Obama argued that incidents like Floyd's death "shouldn’t be 'normal' in 2020 America, and that "we can and must be better." Obama concluded his statement by calling on Minnesota officials to get justice for Floyd — and by calling on the rest of the country 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." In his Facebook post, Obama also included a video of 12-year-old Keedron Bryant singing an original song about the realities of being a young black man.
As the country deals with another instance of fatal police violence, on top of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the situation undoubtedly feels dark. But while a social media post certainly can't fix everything that's wrong in America — police violence, racism, and injustice — it's still a helpful reminder that what may be troublingly normal is still not OK.