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EU: George Floyd's death was 'an abuse of power'

EU foreign policy chief said that Europeans support the 'right to peacefully protest, and we also condem violence and racism of any kind.'

BRUSSELS, Belgium — The European Union’s top diplomat said Tuesday the death of George Floyd was the result of an abuse of power and that the 27-nation bloc is “shocked and appalled” by it.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told reporters that “like the people of the United States, we are shocked and appalled by the death of George Floyd.”

Protests erupted throughout the United States and around the world for several days after Floyd, a black man, was killed by former Officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, and has since been arrested and charged. 

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In a widely circulated cellphone video of the Minneapolis incident, Floyd can be seen on the ground with his hands cuffed behind his back while Officer Chauvin presses him to the pavement with his knee on Floyd's neck. The video shows Chauvin holding Floyd down for minutes as Floyd complains he can't breathe.

Bystanders can be heard begging the officer to take his knee off Floyd's neck. The video ends with paramedics lifting a limp Floyd onto a stretcher and placing him in an ambulance.

Chauvin was charged on Friday with third degree murder, but they are continuing to review the evidence, and there may be subsequent charges later. He was also charged with second degree manslaughter.

RELATED: Death toll grows in national protests over George Floyd's death, injustice

Borrell says law enforcement officials must not be “using their capacities in the way that has been used in this very, very unhappy death of George Floyd. This is an abuse of power and this has to be denounced.”

He underlined that Europeans “support the right to peaceful protest, and also we condemn violence and racism of any kind, and for sure, we call for a de-escalation of tensions.”

Borrell says “we trust in the ability of the Americans to come together, to heal as a nation and to address these important issues during these difficult times.”