Biden: Trump ‘despicable’ for invoking George Floyd

US President Donald Trump has been condemned by his likely Democratic challenger for invoking George Floyd’s name as he touted US jobs figures.

He spoke out after Mr Trump said Mr Floyd, who died last month while being arrested in Minneapolis, is “looking down” and “saying this a great day”.

Former US Vice-President Joe Biden said the remark was “despicable”.

Mr Trump spoke while celebrating a surprise US jobs rebound and calling for “equal justice under the law”.

Mr Floyd, who was unarmed and in handcuffs, died after a police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. His death has sparked protests against racial discrimination in cities across the US and the world.

In response to the killing, Minneapolis officials plan on Friday to formally ban the use of police neck restraints or chokeholds.

Under the new policy, officers will be required to immediately report from the scene to their commander if they see a colleague using such authorised force.

What did Trump say?

Speaking in the White House Rose Garden on Friday, Mr Trump said: “Equal justice under the law must mean that every American receives equal treatment in every encounter with law enforcement regardless of race, colour, gender or creed.

“They have to receive fair treatment from law enforcement. They have to receive it.

“We all saw what happened last week. We can’t let that happen.

“Hopefully George is looking down and saying this is a great thing that’s happening for our country. A great day for him. It’s a great day for everybody.”

Mr Trump, a Republican, added: “This is a great, great day in terms of equality.”

While the president’s critics suggested he was crassly suggesting Mr Floyd would be posthumously celebrating positive jobs figures, his defenders said the context of his comments make clear he was referring to his call for equal treatment of all Americans during police encounters.

More on George Floyd’s death

What did Biden say?

The Democratic presidential candidate hit back during a campaign speech in Dover, Delaware.

He said: “George Floyd’s last words, ‘I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe’ echoed all across this nation and quite frankly around the world.

“For the president to try to put any other words in the mouth of George Floyd I frankly think is despicable.

“And the fact he did so on the day black unemployment rose, Hispanic unemployment rose, black youth unemployment skyrocketed tells you everything you need to know about this man and what he cares about.”

But Mr Biden was wrong about Hispanic unemployment.

What do the job figures show?

The latest US monthly jobs report on Friday showed employers added 2.5 million jobs, defying economists’ predictions of further decline.

For black workers, the unemployment rate rose from 16.4% to 16.8%.

The losses from the coronavirus pandemic have hit minority and low-wage workers hardest, a trend that has continued.

Despite Mr Biden’s claim, the Hispanic unemployment rate actually declined in April from 18.5% to 17.2%.

It also fell among white workers to 12.4% from 13.8% over the last month.

While campaigning in his home state of Delaware on Thursday night, Mr Biden said Mr Trump brings out the “worst” of some Americans and “there are probably anywhere from 10 to 15 percent of the people out there, they’re just not very good people”.

Defiant DC mayor names plaza ‘Black Lives Matter’

US protests timeline

George Floyd dies after police arrest

Tributes to George Floyd at a makeshift memorial

George Floyd dies after being arrested by police outside a shop in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Footage shows a white officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeling on Mr Floyd’s neck for several minutes while he is pinned to the floor. Mr Floyd is heard repeatedly saying "I can’t breathe". He is pronounced dead later in hospital.

Protests begin

Demonstrators in Minneapolis

Four officers involved in the arrest of George Floyd are fired. Protests begin as the video of the arrest is shared widely on social media. Hundreds of demonstrators take to the streets of Minneapolis and vandalise police cars and the police station with graffiti.

Protests spread

Protesters lie on the streets in Portland, Oregon

Protests spread to other cities including Memphis and Los Angeles. In some places, like Portland, Oregon, protesters lie in the road, chanting "I can’t breathe". Demonstrators again gather around the police station in Minneapolis where the officers involved in George Floyd’s arrest were based and set fire to it. The building is evacuated and police retreat.

Trump tweets

President Trump tweets about the unrest

President Trump blames the violence on a lack of leadership in Minneapolis and threatens to send in the National Guard in a tweet.  He follows it up in a second tweet with a warning "when the looting starts, the shooting starts". The second tweet is hidden by Twitter for "glorifying violence".

CNN reporter arrested

Members of a CNN crew are arrested at a protest

A CNN reporter, Omar Jimenez, is arrested while covering the Minneapolis protest. Mr Jimenez was reporting live when police officers handcuffed him. A few minutes later several of his colleagues are also arrested. They are all later released once they are confirmed to be members of the media.

Derek Chauvin charged with murder

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin after being charged over the death of George Floyd

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, 44, is charged with murder and manslaughter. The charges carry a combined maximum 35-year sentence.

Sixth night of protests

Demonstrators set fire to rubbish in New York

Violence spreads across the US on the sixth night of protests. A total of at least five people are reported killed in protests from Indianapolis to Chicago. More than 75 cities have seen protests. At least 4,400 people have been arrested.  Curfews are imposed across the US to try to stem the unrest.

Trump threatens military response

Trump posing with a Bible outside a boarded-up church

President Trump threatens to send in the military to quell growing civil unrest. He says if cities and states fail to control the protests and "defend their residents" he will deploy the army and "quickly solve the problem for them". Mr Trump poses in front of a damaged church shortly after police used tear gas to disperse peaceful protesters nearby.

Eighth night of protests

George Floyd’s family joined protesters in Houston

Tens of thousands of protesters again take to the streets. One of the biggest protests is in George Floyd’s hometown of Houston, Texas. Many defy curfews in several cities, but the demonstrations are largely peaceful.

Memorial service for George Floyd

Mourners gather to remember George Floyd

A memorial service for George Floyd is held in Minneapolis.  Those gathered in tribute stand in silence for eight minutes, 46 seconds, the amount of time Mr Floyd is alleged to have been on the ground under arrest. Hundreds attended the service, which heard a eulogy from civil rights activist Rev Al Sharpton.

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