UNITED NATIONS, May 29 (APP):The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Thursday condemned the killing by US police of an unarmed, handcuffed African-American man whose death was captured on video and led to violent protests in the state of Minneapolis.
“This is the latest in a long line of killings of unarmed African-Americans by US police officers and members of the public,” High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet said, reacting to the killing.
“I am dismayed to have to add George Floyd’s name to that of Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Michael Brown and many other unarmed African Americans who have died over the years at the hands of the police — as well as people such as Ahmaud Arbery and Trayvon Martin who were killed by armed members of the public.”
The high commissioner called for U.S. authorities to take “serious action” to stop the killings.
“Procedures must change, prevention systems must be put in place, and above all police officers who resort to excessive use of force should be charged and convicted for the crimes committed,” she said.
President Donald Trump on Wednesday said he asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the FBI to expedite an investigation into Floyd’s death and the department said the issue is a “top priority.”
Bachelet called the investigation “welcome” news. However, she warned that similar investigations in the past “have led to killings being deemed justified on questionable grounds, or only being addressed by administrative measures.”
“The role that entrenched and pervasive racial discrimination plays in such deaths must also be fully examined, properly recognized and dealt with,” she added.
Violent protests erupted for a third night Thursday, with some looting local stores and a Target location, according to media reports.
Hundreds of demonstrators clashed with police clad in riot gear, while law enforcement fired off tear gas, rubber bullets and other nonlethal equipment into the crowds.
Bachelet urged protesters to demonstrate peacefully, saying “violence and destruction of property won’t solve the problem of police brutality and enshrined discrimination.”
She also called for police to not “enflame” the current situation with more excessive force.
Floyd’s arrest was caught on camera by spectators and the footage sparked widespread outrage.
The video shows Floyd, 46, pinned to the ground as a white officer kneels on his neck. Floyd is heard telling the officer that he is unable to breathe and bystanders beg police to let him go. Local emergency workers said that Floyd showed no signs of life by the time they arrived on the scene. First responders attempted to perform life-saving measures but Floyd was officially pronounced dead 90 minutes after his arrest.
The four officers involved have been fired but several people, including Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, a Democrat, and former presidential candidate Senator Kamala Harris, also a democrat, have called for the officer to be arrested for murder.
Floyd’s death is the latest in a string of recent high-profile incidents targeting African Americans that have been captured on video.
Earlier this month, footage was released showing the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery while he was jogging in Brunswick, Georgia, back in February. Father and son Gregory McMichael and Travis McMichael were charged with murder in connection to his death after the footage went viral.