Barack Obama Demands End to 'Legacy of Bigotry and Unequal Treatment' Over George Floyd's Death

Former President Barack Obama on Friday demanded an end to the "legacy of bigotry and unequal treatment," following the recent death of George Floyd in Minnesota.

"It's natural to wish for life 'to just get back to normal' as a pandemic and economic crisis upend everything around us," Obama wrote in a statement posted to Twitter. "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 the park."

My statement on the death of George Floyd:

— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) May 29, 2020

"This shouldn't be 'normal' in 2020 America," the former president continued in his statement. "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."

"To work together to create a 'new normal' in which the legacy of bigotry and unequal treatment no longer effects our institutions or our hearts," he added.

Floyd died Monday shortly after being arrested and held down via knee placed on his neck by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. In videos of the arrest that have surfaced across social media, Floyd can be heard repeatedly saying that he cannot breathe.

The four Minneapolis police officers, Chauvin, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao, and J. Alexander Kueng, involved in Floyd's arrest were fired on Tuesday, but people have continued to ask for further action to be taken, leading to mass protests and looting throughout Minneapolis.

On Thursday night, protesters invaded the Minneapolis Police Department's Third Precinct, demanding justice. Earlier on Thursday, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz activated the state's National Guard to help police the area as some of the protests turned violent.

"It will mainly fall on the officials of Minnesota to ensure that the circumstances surrounding George Floyd's death are investigated thoroughly and that justice is ultimately done," Obama wrote in his statement. "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."

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman called Floyd's death "senseless" during a press conference on Thursday, but noted that the investigation into the incident could take time.

"We're going to investigate [Floyd's death] as expeditiously, as thoroughly and completely as justice demands," Freeman said. "Sometimes, that takes a little time and we ask people to be patient. We have to do this right."

However, Friday, Minnesota's Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington announced that Chauvin was taken into custody by state authorities. It is unknown of Chauvin has been charged with a crime.

Newsweek reached out to Obama for further comment on his statement but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Barack Obama
This screen grab from a video released by BidenForPresident shows former President Obama endorsing Joe Bidens White House bid through a video message on Tuesday, April 14, 2020. Olivier Douliery/Getty