Speed Reads

George Floyd

Obama issues powerful statement on the death of George Floyd: 'This shouldn't be 'normal''

Former President Barack Obama issued a statement on Friday reflecting on "conversations I've had with friends over the past couple days about the footage of George Floyd dying face down on the street under the knee of a police officer in Minnesota."

In the statement, Obama explained that it's "natural to wish for life to 'just get back to normal'" during the pandemic but that "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." Obama's comment referenced other recent high-profile instances of brutality and racism this year, including the shooting of 25-year-old jogger Ahmaud Arbery by white residents of southern Georgia in February, and Christian Cooper, who this week recorded a viral video of a white woman in Central Park calling the police on him after he asked her to leash her dog.

"This shouldn't be 'normal' in 2020 America," Obama wrote. "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." Read the full statement below. Jeva Lange