Reaction to the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police has come from the nation's top political leaders as President Donald Trump, former President Barack Obama and presidential candidate/former Vice President Joe Biden have spoken out.
Trump tweeted during Thursday night's rioting in the Twin Cities that the federal government will take control of the situation if local leadership can't handle it, adding that "when the looting starts, the shooting starts."
Taken as an ominous threat by many, Trump has attempted to clarify his words with a new set of tweets Friday. The president wrote:
"Looting leads to shooting, and that’s why a man was shot and killed in Minneapolis on Wednesday night - or look at what just happened in Louisville with 7 people shot. I don’t want this to happen, and that’s what the expression put out last night means....
"It was spoken as a fact, not as a statement. It’s very simple, nobody should have any problem with this other than the haters, and those looking to cause trouble on social media. Honor the memory of George Floyd!"
Obama, who was the Commander in Chief during multiple high-profile police-involved deaths of African Americans, including Freddie Gray in Baltimore (2015) and Jamar Clark in Minneapolis (2015), said that "millions of Americans being treated differently on account of race is tragically, painfully, maddeningly "normal."
"This shouldn't be 'normal' in 2020 America. 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 do better," Obama said in a statement.
Obama then called on Minnesota leaders to ensure justice in Floyd's death is provided, while adding:
"But if 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 – to work together to create a 'new norma' in which the legacy of bigotry and unequal treatment no longer infects our institutions or our hearts."
Biden said he spoke with members of Floyd's family, adding that Floyd was deprived of air and it ultimately deprived him of his life.
"None of us can we any longer hear the words 'I can't breathe' and do nothing," Biden said. "Imagine if every time your husband or son, wife or daughter left the house, you feared for their safety from bad actors and bad police. Imagine if you had to have that talk with your child about not asserting your rights, taking the abuse handed out to them just so they could make it home."
"This is the norm black people in America deal with. They don't have to imagine it," he added.
"We need justice for George Floyd. We need real police reform that hold cops to a higher standard that so many of them actually meet, that holds bad cops accountable."
The former Minneapolis cop, Derek Chauvin, who held knee on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes on Memorial Day evening, was arrested Friday and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.