- In a rare public statement, George W. Bush said he and his wife are disturbed by the injustice of the killing of George Floyd
- The former US President said he and former first lady Laura Bush, had resisted the urge to speak on the ongoing protests
- Protests that began in Minnesota after the killing of Floyd have spread across the US
Former United States president, George W. Bush, made a rare public statement. Bush said he and his wife, the former first lady Laura Bush, were "anguished by the killing" of George Floyd. He added that they were disturbed by the injustice and fear.
Bush called for the US to listen to "grieving" African-Americans and said a peaceful protest is a sign of "strength". Bush added that:
"This is not the time for us to lecture. It is time for us to listen."
In a video that went viral, a Minneapolis police officer, later identified as Derek Chauvin, is seen pinning Floyd down on the ground. Floyd can be heard repeatedly saying "I can't breathe" as the police officer had his knee on him for over 10 minutes. Chauvin arrested Floyd outside a convenience store for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill.
Floyd died of asphyxiation and Chauvin is being charged with third degree murder. All four of the officers involved have been fired and investigation is ongoing. Protest began in Minnesota and spread across the US. The protests also garnered support for the #BlackLivesMatter movement all over the globe.
Bush spoke about how the government is failing African-Americans. He said:
"It is a strength when protesters, protected by responsible law enforcement, march for a better future. This tragedy -- in a long series of similar tragedies -- raises a long overdue question: How do we end systemic racism in our society? The only way to see ourselves in a true light is to listen to the voices of so many who are hurting and grieving. Those who set out to silence those voices do not understand the meaning of America -- or how it becomes a better place"
Former President Barack Obama also issued a statement. He said:
"If we want to bring about real change, then the choice isn’t between protest and politics. We have to do both. We have to mobilize to raise awareness, and we have to organize and cast our ballots to make sure that we elect candidates who will act on reform"
Bush said America's biggest challenge has been its inability to unite people from different backgrounds into a single nation of justice and opportunity. Floyd is the latest African-American to die in a long list of victims at the hands of white police officers.
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