Gov. Whitmer weighs in on George Floyd death, says part of 'systemic cycle of racial injustice'

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer weighed in on the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis Friday during her press briefing on COVID-19.

Floyd was the handcuffed Black man who died in custody after pleading that he could not breathe. The officer who was seen on video kneeling on Floyd's neck was arrested Friday and charged with murder. The case has sparked protests across the United States and violence in Minneapolis. 

Meanwhile, here at home, Gov. Whitmer says it's on her and every leader in this country right now to urgently achieve cultural change. 

"Every time something like this happens - whether it makes the new or not - it's just another reminder that we've not treated this broken component of our culture with the urgency that it demands. And there has not been enough urgency in doing the hard work that we need to do as a country to enact the cultural change," she said.  

"It's long overdue and I cannot pretend that I understand the exhaustion or desperation that African Americans across our country are feeling right now, can't imagine being a mother who's afraid every time her son goes out in public that he might not come home. But what I do understand is it's on every leader in this country to work urgently until we achieve that cultural change that's overdue. And it's incumbent on every one of us to stand up for what is right. We have to hold people accountable, people that perpetuate these abhorrent actions. 

"George Floyd's death and the deaths of many others - Ahmad Aubrey, Treyvon Martin, Renisha McBride - they're not isolated incidents but they're parts of a systemic cycle of racial injustice in our country.  

"The events of the last couple of weeks have really sent a clear message that Black lives are under threat every single day, whether it's the fear of law enforcement or fear of this pandemic. And we cannot live in a society and a country where our rights and dignity aren't equal for everyone."

She also said George Floyd's family deserves a thorough, timely and impartial investigation into the protocol and procedures and the events and circumstances surrounding his death.

READ MORE: Ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin charged with murder, manslaughter in George Floyd's death

You can listen to her thoughts in full in the video player above.