George Floyd protests: Barack Obama calls for ‘justice’ and a ‘new normal’ – NJ.com

Former President Barack Obama joined the chorus demanding accountability and change following the death of 46-year-old George Floyd on Monday while in the custody of Minneapolis police.

Obama tweeted his statement Friday after violence marred protests across the country Thursday evening.

“It’s natural to wish for life ‘to just get back to normal’ as a pandemic and economic crisis upend everything around us. But 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.

“This shouldn’t be ‘normal’ in 2020 in America. 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.

“It will fall mainly on the officials of Minnesota to ensure that the circumstances surrounding George Floyd’s death are investigated thoroughly and that justice is ultimately done. But it falls on all of us, regardless of our race or station – including the majority of men and women in law enforcement who take pride in doing their tough job the right way, every day – 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.”

Obama’s tweet references recent race-related incidents, including the death of Ahmaud Arbery, who was shot while jogging in Georgia in February, and Amy Cooper, who called police earlier this week after being asked by an African American birdwatcher in Central Park to keep her dog on a leash, per park regulations. Like Floyd’s death, both of the incidents mentioned above were caught on video.

The four officers seen on video ending Floyd’s life have been fired. CNN reports more than 500 Minnesota National Guard soldiers arrived in Minneapolis Thursday as protestors set a police station on fire.

According to the Star-Tribune, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said Friday he has “every expectation” authorities will press charges against the police officers involved in Floyd’s death.

In a live interview on CNN, Ellison attributed the lack of charges several days since Floyd died to prosecutors with the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office “trying to be careful” to make sure they have a case that is “air tight” and won’t fall apart because of pressure to file more quickly than the evidence allows. “I have every expectation that they will be [filed]” soon, said Ellison, while pointing out that his office is not the one to make charges happen.

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