MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Former vice president and presumptive Democratic nominee for president Joe Biden is calling for an independent Department of Justice investigation into George Floyd’s death in south Minneapolis.
On Wednesday morning at the beginning of a livestream with Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf on COVID-19, Biden addressed the death of Floyd, who died during an arrest by Minneapolis police. Four officers have since been fired.
“George Floyd’s life mattered. It mattered as much as mine, it matters just as much as anybody in this country — at least it should have,” Biden said.
Biden says watching the horrific video and hearing Floyd echoing the words of Eric Garner before his death more than five years ago — “I can’t breathe” — is a tragic reminder that this isn’t an isolated incident.
“[It’s] part of an ingrained systemic cycle of injustice that still exists in this country,” Biden said. “And it cuts at the very heart of our sacred belief that all Americans are equal in rights and in dignity.”
Biden says he’s grateful for the quick firings of the officers, but that it’s not enough and the officers must be held “more fully accountable.” He says that should include a thorough FBI investigation and an independent Department of Justice civil rights investigation.
“Because we have to get to the root of all this,” Biden said. “We have to ensure the Floyd family gets the justice they are entitled to.”
The outrage began with a video showing police arresting the 46-year-old in south Minneapolis Monday night.
“I can’t breathe! Please, the knee on my neck,” Floyd is heard saying in the video.
The video shows an officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck, pinning him to the ground outside Cup Foods on Chicago Avenue and East 38th Street for more than seven minutes. Floyd died a short time later at Hennepin Healthcare.
On Wednesday, another protest is planned for the Oakdale home of a Minneapolis police officer fired over Floyd’s death. Protesters gathered there Tuesday evening and the demonstration was peaceful.
Peaceful was not how a large protest in Minneapolis stayed Tuesday night. While a large crowd gathered peacefully in the afternoon at the scene where Floyd was arrested, a smaller group marched to Minneapolis Police’s Third Precinct and clashed with officers in riot gear. The struggle lasted into the overnight hours, with protesters throwing rocks and police hurling tear gas and flash-bang grenades.