In sharp contrast with comments made earlier by President Trump, former President Barack Obama on Friday said the killing of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis “shouldn’t be normal in 2020 America.”
“For millions of Americans, being treated differently on account of race is tragically, painfully, maddeningly ‘normal,'” the President wrote in a statement that he shared on Twitter. “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.”
My statement on the death of George Floyd: pic.twitter.com/Hg1k9JHT6R
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) May 29, 2020
As president, Obama was at times criticized for treading lightly on issues of race and playing the middleman on topics of racial inequality.
President Trump, however, saddled with longstanding criticism for siding with systems that have criminalized people of color, in one breath called for honoring the memory of Floyd’s life. But in another he warned that the “thugs” involved in protests that turned violent, led to looting and left a police station in flames wouldn’t be let off easy. “When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” he tweeted.
The phrase echoes the bloody mantra of a 1960s-era Miami police chief, and the President’s tweet was swiftly flagged by Twitter for failing to follow the social media company’s guidelines by “glorifying violence.”
Bigotry and inequality “can’t be ‘normal’” in the building of a better America, Obama added in his statement, imploring that the Floyd case be “investigated thoroughly” so that “justice is ultimately done.”