Joe Biden: George Floyd’s Death Is A ‘Wake Up Call For Our Country’

The Democratic presidential addresses the unrest wreaking havoc in cities throughout the country and Trump’s inefficacy as a leader.

Former Vice President and presumptive Democratice presidential nominee Joe Biden spoke for 22-minutes in a call for social justice to a nation facing more tension than it has in a generation, attempting to send a message of hope more than a week after the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. Following the incident have been several days of intense demonstrations which then gave way to nights of looting and destruction of stores and public property in several cities across the country. 
"It's a wake up call in my view," Biden said in Philadelphia's City Hall, invoking thw words "I can't breathe" which were the final words of both Floyd and Eric Garner, who died six years ago while in a chokehold by a New York police officer. "They speak to a nation where too often, just the color of your skin puts your life at risk," Biden said. 
"They speak to a nation where more than 100,000 people have lost their lives to a virus and 40 million have filed for unemployment, with a disproportionate number of those deaths and job losses concentrated in Black and Brown communities."

Biden spoke a day after police lobbed tear gas at demonstrators at a park near the White House to clear a path for President Donald Trump to take a photo and provide commentary in front of a church across the street. He also threatened military intervention against demonstrations who have become violent nationwide in the wake of Floyd's death.

RELATED: Trump Has Protestors Tear Gassed For Photo Op As Protests Continue

Biden took the opportunity today to contrast his leadership style if voted in as President compared to that of Trump who he blasted for Trump's words and behavior saying that, "the President of the United States must be part of the solution, not part of the problem. This president today is part of the problem."
But he also offered a way forward, pledging that if he were elected President, "I won't traffic in fear and division, I won't fan the flames of hate.  I will seek to heal the racial wounds that have long plagued this country — not use them for political gain."

Biden also provided insight into the things that he said could be done by Congress immediately as a response to police violence against African Americans. He called on lawmakers to create legislation outlawing police chokeholds, and banning military weaponry going to police departments.

"No more excuses, no more delays," Biden said. 
Floyd's death has sparked massive conflicts between demonstrators and police across the nation that evolved into looting and vandalism in cities like New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, the epicenter Minneapolis and Philadelphia, where Biden spoke. Shootings have been reported in cities like St. Louis, Las Vegas, and Louisville, Kentucky.
The chaos is something that Biden said needed leadership rather than threats in order to quell. 

"We’re a nation in pain, but we can’t let our pain destroy us," he said. "We’re a nation enraged but we can’t let our rage consume us."


BET has been covering every angle of George Floyd’s death in police custody, other social justice cases and the subsequent aftermath and protests. For our continuing coverage, click here.

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