In his daily address to Canadians regarding the coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a statement on the violence in Minnesota that has been increasing in intensity since the death of George Floyd.
In a graphic video posted to social media on May 26, 46-year-old Floyd (who is Black) was heard repeatedly saying that he cannot breathe while being held down by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
According to an official police statement, Minneapolis police were responding to a 911 call reporting a forgery in progress. The officers arrived and located a suspect in a vehicle. They reportedly ordered the suspect out of the vehicle, who then physically resisted the officers.
The officers claim to have handcuffed the suspect and restrained him on the ground while an ambulance was called. He was then transported to Hennepin County Medical Center where he was pronounced deceased.
After reviewing the footage taken by bystander Darnella Frazier, many Americans believe that this act by the police was a racial attack.
- See also:
Floyd’s death has reignited the conversation around racism in the United States and sparked protests across the country against police violence on black Americans.
“Many Canadians of diverse backgrounds are watching like all Canadians are, the news out of the United States with shock and with horror,” said Trudeau. “Anti-Black racism, racism, is real; it’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada. And I know people are facing systemic discrimination, unconscious bias, and anti-Black racism every single day.”
“I call on all Canadians, whether it’s anti-Black racism or anti-Asian racism, or racism and discrimination of any type, to stand together in solidarity; to be there for each other,” Trudeau concluded. “And know just how deeply people are being affected by what [we’ve seen] on the news these past few days.”
“We need as a society to stand together, stand up against discrimination, be there for each other in respect but also understand that we have work to do as well in Canada.”
Trudeau’s statement comes a day after a Black Toronto woman fell to her death from the balcony of a 24th-floor apartment building. The family of Regis Korchinski-Paquet is alleging police were involved while a petition called “Justice for Regis Korchinski-Paquet” has already garnered over 20,000 signatures.
With files from Alyssa Therrien.