Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday afternoon injected himself into escalating tensions over George Floyd’s death, declaring that racism is “real” in the United States.
“Many Canadians of diverse backgrounds are watching like all Canadians are, the news out of the United States, with shock and with horror. Anti-black racism, racism is real. It’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada,” Trudeau said in a press conference.
Trudeau then urged Canadians to “stand up against” racism in the country.
“We have work to do, as well, in Canada, in our systems, that we need to work forward on, and I call on all Canadians, whether it’s anti-black racism or anti-Asian racism or racism and discrimination of any kind, to stand together in solidarity,” said the prime minister.
Last fall, Trudeau faced a tsunami of criticism after a 2001 photo was dug up showing the prime minister wore blackface during his time as a teacher. Trudeau later admitted to having performed the song “Day-O” at a high school talent show “with makeup on.”
The prime minister, then in the middle of a tough re-election campaign, apologized for the conduct, saying the decision to don blackface was “racist.”
The former Minneapolis police officer seen kneeling on the neck of Floyd before he died during an arrest this week has been charged with murder, Minnesota prosecutors said Friday.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced that Derek Chauvin had been charged with third-degree murder in connection with Floyd’s Monday death.
Chauvin was taken into custody earlier Friday by the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
Freeman said prosecutors were still reviewing the evidence and indicated there could be further charges brought against Chauvin.
He and three other officers involved in Floyd’s death were fired from the Minneapolis Police Department shortly after the video was released. Freeman said investigations of the others were ongoing.
The UPI contributed to this report