The US attorney general has admitted that racism in law enforcement in the US is a problem that needs to be addressed. At the same time, he accused foreign actors of fueling protests in the country.
Against the background of the protests against racism and police violence in the USA, Attorney General William Barr has admitted fundamental abuses in the country. "George Floyd’s death wasn’t the first of its kind," he said. It cannot be denied that many blacks have doubts about the criminal justice system in the country: "That has to change." It must be ensured that racism does not play a role in law enforcement. With Floyd’s death in mind, Barr promised that they would work hard to make good out of bad.
The 46-year-old Floyd died almost ten days ago in connection with a violent police operation in Minneapolis. The brutal police action sparked demonstrations and protests across the country, some of which degenerated into rioting and looting.
US government blames foreign actors
Barr said the protesters protested mostly peacefully. Rioting, looting and violence would not be tolerated, however. Barr also accused foreign actors of fueling the protests and division in the country. These were involved on all sides. There is evidence that "the Antifa and other similar extremist groups" and "actors of various political convictions" were involved in inciting acts of violence.
Merkel speaks of murder
The fatal police operation against Floyd also causes horror in Germany. Chancellor Angela Merkel described him as a murder on the ARD program "Bekenennen": "This murder of George Floyd is terrible. It is racism." Regarding the protests, Merkel said: "I trust the democratic strength of the United States of America to cope with this difficult situation."
Merkel had previously spoken on ZDF about US President Donald Trump’s handling of the protests: "My demands on politics are always that people try to bring them together and reconcile," said the Chancellor. Trump’s political style is "already a very controversial one".
Criticism of Trump
Trump had fueled the protests by bringing an army deployment into play. This triggered severe criticism – including from his previous one Secretary of Defense James Mattis. In a rare and drastic statement, he stood behind the peaceful protests and criticized the president as a divider. Criticism also came from other retired military officials. The incumbent Defense Secretary Mark Esper had previously spoken out against using the US military to stop the unrest and had thus clearly distanced himself from Trump.