German Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned Thursday the “murder” of George Floyd by police in the United States and said that racism in the country strikes a “very polarized American society”, during an interview with the ZDF network.
“The murder of George Floyd is a terrible thing. Racism is a terrible thing. American society is highly polarized. I think that politicians should work towards reconciliation“, said the president.
Floyd died on May 25 in Minneapolis, in the north-central United States, after being arrested by police after an alleged attempt to use counterfeit money to buy cigarettes. In the struggle, caught on numerous cell phones, Officer Derek Chauvin used his knee to press Floyd’s head against the asphalt. Despite the 46-year-old African American yelling that he couldn’t breathe, the uniformed man kept pushing until the man lost consciousness.
Floyd was pronounced dead shortly thereafter, and the final autopsy established that it was “manslaughter” as a result of “the submission, restraint, and compression of the neck ” suffered by the victim when she was being restrained by Officer Chauvin. According to the examination, Floyd died as a result of “a cardiopulmonary arrest when he was being detained by law enforcement officers”.
Merkel had already referred to the episode, lamenting a death she had described as “terrible and avoidable”. But this is the first time that she has spoken of “murder”, in line with the autopsy results, and that she refers to the situation of racism in the United States, a historic scourge that the country has not yet been able to solve.
Following Floyd’s murder, a wave of protests against police brutality and treatment of the African-American community have been shaking the entire country. In some cases, the protests also led to looting and attacks on property, and the authorities have responded with the deployment of security forces and National Guard troops.
President Donald Trump has even threatened to invoke the “law of insurrection” and summon the United States Army, a controversial and unprecedented measure that could further escalate violence.
With information from AFP