George Floyd’s “brutal, brutal death” is a reminder of “this ugly underbelly of our society,” former Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday.
“People all across this country are enraged and rightly so,” Biden said of Floyd’s death Monday in the custody of Minneapolis police, according to a pool report. “Everyday African Americans go about their lives with constant anxiety and trauma of wondering, ‘Will I be next?’ Sounds like an exaggeration but it’s not.”
The presumptive Democratic nominee for president made the remarks during an online fundraiser hosted by Whoopi Goldberg and Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois. His comments came after the governor of Minnesota activated the National Guard amid growing social unrest in the state, and after a local prosecutor said he would hold off on charging any of the officers involved in the incident.
Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died Monday after a white police officer pinned him to the ground, kneeling on his neck for roughly eight minutes. He died after an ambulance was called to the scene to take him to the hospital. All four responding officers have since been fired.
Biden said the incident is emblematic. “These tragedies, these injustices, cut at the very what of our most sacred of beliefs: that all Americans, equal in rights and in dignity, are part of an ingrained systemic cycle of racism and oppression that [run] throughout every party of our society.”
“If we’re not committed as a nation,” he added, “with every ounce of purpose in our beings, not just to bind up this wound in hope that somehow the scab once again will cover things over — but to treat the underlying injury — we’re never going to eventually heal.”