Home World Biden: Trump ‘despicable’ for invoking George Floyd

Biden: Trump ‘despicable’ for invoking George Floyd

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Media captionTrump: ‘Hopefully George is looking down right now and saying this is a great thing that’s happening’

US President Donald Trump has been condemned by his likely Democratic challenger for invoking George Floyd’s name as he touted US jobs figures.

He spoke out after Mr Trump said Mr Floyd, who died last month while being arrested in Minneapolis, is “looking down” and “saying this a great day”.

Former US Vice-President Joe Biden said the remark was “despicable”.

Mr Trump spoke while celebrating a surprise US jobs rebound and calling for “equal justice under the law”.

Mr Floyd, who was unarmed and in handcuffs, died after a police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. His death has sparked protests against racial discrimination in cities across the US and the world.

In response to the killing, Minneapolis officials on Friday formally banned the police neck restraint used on Mr Floyd, and California pledged to follow suit.

What did Trump say?

Speaking in the White House Rose Garden on Friday, Mr Trump said: “Equal justice under the law must mean that every American receives equal treatment in every encounter with law enforcement regardless of race, colour, gender or creed.

“They have to receive fair treatment from law enforcement. They have to receive it.

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Media captionThe USA’s history of racial inequality has paved the way for modern day police brutality

“We all saw what happened last week. We can’t let that happen.

“Hopefully George is looking down and saying this is a great thing that’s happening for our country. A great day for him. It’s a great day for everybody.”

Mr Trump, a Republican, added: “This is a great, great day in terms of equality.”

While the president’s critics suggested he was crassly suggesting Mr Floyd would be posthumously celebrating positive jobs figures, his defenders said the context of his comments make clear he was referring to his call for equal treatment of all Americans during police encounters.

More on George Floyd’s death

What did Biden say?

The Democratic presidential candidate hit back during a campaign speech in Dover, Delaware.

He said: “George Floyd’s last words, ‘I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe’ echoed all across this nation and quite frankly around the world.

“For the president to try to put any other words in the mouth of George Floyd I frankly think is despicable.

“And the fact he did so on the day black unemployment rose, Hispanic unemployment rose, black youth unemployment skyrocketed tells you everything you need to know about this man and what he cares about.”

But Mr Biden was wrong about Hispanic unemployment.

What do the job figures show?

The latest US monthly jobs report on Friday showed employers added 2.5 million jobs, defying economists’ predictions of further decline.

For black workers, the unemployment rate rose from 16.4% to 16.8%.

The losses from the coronavirus pandemic have hit minority and low-wage workers hardest, a trend that has continued.

Despite Mr Biden’s claim, the Hispanic unemployment rate actually declined in April from 18.5% to 17.2%.

It also fell among white workers to 12.4% from 13.8% over the last month.

While campaigning in his home state of Delaware on Thursday night, Mr Biden said Mr Trump brings out the “worst” of some Americans and “there are probably anywhere from 10 to 15 percent of the people out there, they’re just not very good people”.

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The two-block long mural reading “Black Lives Matter” was painted overnight outside the White House

Defiant DC mayor names plaza ‘Black Lives Matter’

Minneapolis neck restraint ban

The Minneapolis City Council and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights on Friday agreed to ban police neck restraints and chokeholds.

The new policy, which will be enforceable in court, requires any officer regardless of rank to verbally and physically intervene if they witness a colleague using such unauthorised force..

It will also requires authorisation from the police chief for the use of non-lethal “crowd control weapons”.

Also on Friday, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey signed a “temporary restraining order” to force the police to make immediate changes.

California’s Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom said on Friday he would move to end state police training in the use of the “carotid restraint”.

US protests timeline

Tributes to George Floyd at a makeshift memorial
Image caption Tributes to George Floyd at a makeshift memorial

Image copyright by Getty Images

George Floyd dies after being arrested by police outside a shop in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Footage shows a white officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeling on Mr Floyd’s neck for several minutes while he is pinned to the floor. Mr Floyd is heard repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe”. He is pronounced dead later in hospital.

Demonstrators in Minneapolis
Image caption Demonstrators in Minneapolis

Image copyright by AFP

Four officers involved in the arrest of George Floyd are fired. Protests begin as the video of the arrest is shared widely on social media. Hundreds of demonstrators take to the streets of Minneapolis and vandalise police cars and the police station with graffiti.

Protesters lie on the streets in Portland, Oregon
Image caption Protesters lie on the streets in Portland, Oregon

Image copyright by Reuters

Protests spread to other cities including Memphis and Los Angeles. In some places, like Portland, Oregon, protesters lie in the road, chanting “I can’t breathe”. Demonstrators again gather around the police station in Minneapolis where the officers involved in George Floyd’s arrest were based and set fire to it. The building is evacuated and police retreat.

President Trump tweets about the unrest
Image caption President Trump tweets about the unrest

Image copyright by Reuters

President Trump blames the violence on a lack of leadership in Minneapolis and threatens to send in the National Guard in a tweet.  He follows it up in a second tweet with a warning “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”. The second tweet is hidden by Twitter for “glorifying violence”.

Members of a CNN crew are arrested at a protest
Image caption Members of a CNN crew are arrested at a protest

Image copyright by Reuters

A CNN reporter, Omar Jimenez, is arrested while covering the Minneapolis protest. Mr Jimenez was reporting live when police officers handcuffed him. A few minutes later several of his colleagues are also arrested. They are all later released once they are confirmed to be members of the media.

Derek Chauvin charged with murder

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin after being charged over the death of George Floyd
Image caption Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin after being charged over the death of George Floyd

Image copyright by Getty Images

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, 44, is charged with murder and manslaughter. The charges carry a combined maximum 35-year sentence.

Demonstrators set fire to rubbish in New York
Image caption Demonstrators set fire to rubbish in New York

Image copyright by Reuters

Violence spreads across the US on the sixth night of protests. A total of at least five people are reported killed in protests from Indianapolis to Chicago. More than 75 cities have seen protests. At least 4,400 people have been arrested.  Curfews are imposed across the US to try to stem the unrest.

Trump posing with a Bible outside a boarded-up church
Image caption Trump posing with a Bible outside a boarded-up church

Image copyright by EPA

President Trump threatens to send in the military to quell growing civil unrest. He says if cities and states fail to control the protests and “defend their residents” he will deploy the army and “quickly solve the problem for them”. Mr Trump poses in front of a damaged church shortly after police used tear gas to disperse peaceful protesters nearby.

George Floyd’s family joined protesters in Houston
Image caption George Floyd’s family joined protesters in Houston

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Tens of thousands of protesters again take to the streets. One of the biggest protests is in George Floyd’s hometown of Houston, Texas. Many defy curfews in several cities, but the demonstrations are largely peaceful.

Mourners gather to remember George Floyd
Image caption Mourners gather to remember George Floyd

Image copyright by Getty

A memorial service for George Floyd is held in Minneapolis.  Those gathered in tribute stand in silence for eight minutes, 46 seconds, the amount of time Mr Floyd is alleged to have been on the ground under arrest. Hundreds attended the service, which heard a eulogy from civil rights activist Rev Al Sharpton.

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