During a virtual talk with Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday, former vice president Joe Biden condemned the death of George Floyd, who died in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department earlier this week, Politico reports.
Biden called on the Department of Justice to conduct a civil rights investigation into the situation. The FBI already announced it will investigate the incident.
“George Floyd’s life mattered. It mattered as much as mine. It mattered as much as anyone’s in this country. At least it should have,” Biden said.
A bystander filmed a video of Floyd’s arrest. The video showed a police officer kneeling on his neck. Floyd can be hears saying, “I can’t breathe.”
Floyd, 46, became motionless and was taken by ambulance to a hospital where he later died, according to police.
Biden compared the Floyd’s arrest and subsequent death to the 2014 death of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man, who was placed in a chokehold by New York police. He, too, was heard telling officers he couldn’t breathe.
“Watching [Floyd’s] life be taken in the same manner, echoing nearly the same words … is a tragic reminder that this was not an isolated incident, but a part of an ingrained, systemic cycle of injustice that still exists in this country,” Biden said. “It cuts at the very heart of our sacred belief that all Americans are equal in rights and in dignity, and it sends a very clear message to the black community and to black lives that are under threat every single day.”
Biden praised Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey for taking action and firing the officers involved in the arrest.
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