Minneapolis official calls for naming 'disease' of racism a public health issue after George Floyd death

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Amid the outrage over the police killing of George Floyd, one Minneapolis official has called for racism to be declared a public health issue.

Minneapolis City Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins spoke in a press conference on Thursday as the city grieves "yet another loss of black life," singing "Amazing Grace" as a tribute to 46-year-old Floyd, who died this week after a white police officer kneeled on his neck for several minutes. The officer and three others have been fired.

"I am 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," she said, per Axios. "Until we name this virus, this disease that has infected America for the past 400 years, we will never, ever resolve this issue."

After a protest outside of Minneapolis 3rd Precinct police station turned violent on Wednesday, Jenkins, who called Floyd's death "senseless" and "tragic," told protesters they have "every right" to "express your anger" but have "no right to perpetrate violence and harm on the very communities that you say that you are standing up for."

Jenkins also said "we need white people to stop perpetuating the system of racism" in an emotional interview with CNN on Thursday afternoon, during which anchor Brooke Baldwin broke down in tears. "As a white woman aware of my own privilege in this country, I am so angry," Baldwin said.

The FBI is investigating Floyd's death, and White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Thursday called the video of the incident "egregious" and "appalling."

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