Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

10.24 1 Jun 2020


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The US needs to have a national conversation about 'systemic issues' around race and policing, according to commentator Larry Donnelly.

He said there's a "lot of anger and outrage" in the US at the moment about the death of George Floyd, although also anger about the looting and rioting that has been seen in recent days.

There has been a sixth consecutive day of demonstrations and violence in the US, with protesters defying curfews imposed in dozens of cities across the country.

Riot police clashed with protesters overnight in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and Los Angeles, firing tear gas to try to disperse the crowds.

Demonstrations began following the death of unarmed black man George Floyd a week ago.

He died after an officer restrained him by kneeling on his neck.

The officer has been charged with third-degree murder and is due in court today.

One incident on Sunday saw a truck being driven at crowds in Minneapolis.

Nobody was injured, but the incident was caught on camera and the driver of the truck has been arrested.

Governor of Minnesota, George Walz, said the truck driving "nearly full force into a crowd of thousands of peaceful protesters" was a "horrifying image".

Larry Donnelly, political commentator and law lecturer in NUIG, spoke to Newstalk Breakfast about the situation unfolding in the US in recent days.

He observed: "There's a considerable anger in the United States in the African-American community and I think more broadly at what has happened... and some systemic issues that badly need to be sorted.

"These people need to have a voice - that voice needs to be heard, and indeed a national conversation needs to be had about race, policing, all these things.

"Where the line needs to be drawn... it's totally unacceptable that some people are using this as an excuse to loot, riot, cause mayhem, destroy small businesses etc..."

Mr Donnelly said the issue is "inherently political" for US President Donald Trump.

He observed: "It will be very interesting to see how the president pivots here politically, because at the end of the day this is all about the election in November.

"What the president should do is say 'we need to have a national conversation on these sort of issues'... but he's really not the person to help lead that or instigate it.

"I think a whole range of voices are going to need to be heard, because these issues are much, much bigger than the tragic death of this one man... they're systemic issues in the United States that need to be taken on."

Main image: Police stand on H Street as demonstrators protest the death of George Floyd, Sunday, May 31, 2020, near the White House in Washington. Picture by: Alex Brandon/AP/Press Association Images

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