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Minneapolis Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins called on the city to declare a state of emergency Thursday labeling racism a public health issue following the death of George Floyd.
Floyd died Monday night as a result of injuries sustained during his arrest for allegedly using a counterfeit bill. A viral video showed Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for several minutes while Floyd repeatedly stated, “I can’t breathe.”
The incident, which led to the firing of four officers involved and spawned an investigation by the FBI, sparked violent protests and looting in the city Tuesday and Wednesday night.
In an emotional press conference Thursday, Jenkins said that black Americans across the country feel as if there was “a knee on all of our collective necks … a knee that says ‘black life does not matter.'”
“I’m asking my colleagues, the mayor, and anyone else who is concerned about the state of affairs in our community to declare a state of emergency declaring racism as a public health issue,” Jenkins said .
“Until we name this virus, this disease that has infected America for the past 400 years, we will never, ever resolve this issue,” she continued. “To those who say bringing up racism is racist in and of itself, I say to you, if you don’t call cancer what it is, you can never cure that disease. And so in an effort to try and cure this disease, I am stating exactly what everyone else has witnessed, and that is racism.”
It remains to be seen if her request is granted.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey (D) has publicly called for Chauvin to be thrown into jail for his actions.
“Why is the man who killed George Floyd not in jail? If you had done it, or I had done it, we would be behind bars right now,” teh mayor asked on Wednesday. “We cannot turn a blind eye. George Floyd deserves justice.”