Former African presidents have condemned the murder of George Floyd while violent protests continue in the United States after his death in police custody. “Enough is enough,” it says.
The Forum of Former Heads of State and Government urged African countries to “raise a strong protest” against this murder and demand that “the perpetrators of this and all other crimes of this kind be punished in the terms the strongest,” said a statement by former Beninese President Nicéphore Soglo.
“What level of cruelty must you reach for the whole world to wake up and express their indignation finally. Who would dare here, face visible, to treat in this way a European, an Arab, an Israeli, an Indian, a Chinese, a Japanese, Argentinian, etc? Enough is enough,” he says.
In the same spirit, Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo tweeted: “We stand by our loved ones in America in these difficult and trying times, and we hope that the unfortunate and tragic death of George Floyd will inspire lasting change in the way America confronts the problems of hatred and racism”.
The party in power in South Africa, the African National Congress (ANC), urged President Cyril Ramaphosa to engage with the United States “to defuse racial tensions and build social cohesion between different races”.
The death of George Floyd, which sparked widespread protests across the United States, was declared homicide during an official post-mortem examination.
The 46-year-old man suffered a cardiac arrest while being detained by Minneapolis police, the report said. The document indicates that the cause of Mr. Floyd’s death was cardiopulmonary arrest by strain and compression of the neck.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has vowed to use the military to end the unrest. A video of a white police officer continuing to kneel on Mr. Floyd’s neck even after he argued that he could not breathe rekindled a fit of deep anger.
It has resulted in six consecutive days of protests in the United States and a level of civil unrest never seen in decades.
Officer Derek Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter and will appear in court next week. Three other police officers were dismissed.
The official post-mortem examination of Mr. Floyd by the Hennepin County medical examiner’s office also found evidence of heart disease and recent drug use. The report says he suffered a cardiac arrest “while being detained by a law enforcement officer” on May 25.
The findings were released shortly after a private examination by forensic scientists hired by the Floyd family. This report indicates that Mr. Floyd died from asphyxiation (lack of oxygen) due to compression on his neck and also on his back. He also concluded that the death was a homicide, according to a statement from the family legal team.
“The cause of death is, in my opinion, asphyxia, due to compression of the neck – which can interfere with oxygen going to the brain – and compression of the back, which interferes with breathing,” said Dr. Michael Baden, a former New York medical examiner, at a press conference on Monday.
Benjamin Crump, a lawyer for the Floyd family, said: “Without a doubt, he would still be alive today without the pressure exerted on his neck by officer Derek Chauvin and the pressure exerted on his body by two other officers”. He added: “The ambulance was his hearse.”