CNA Staff, Jun 3, 2020 / 13:53 pm America/Denver (CNA).
Pope Francis called the president of the U.S. bishops’ conference on Wednesday to convey his prayers and solidarity for Americans during the period of national unrest that began with the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed May 25 during an arrest by Minneapolis police.
“The Holy Father said he was praying, especially for Archbishop Bernard Hebda and the local Church in Minneapolis-St. Paul,” Archbishop Jose Gomez wrote in a June 3 letter to bishops obtained by CNA.
“He thanked the bishops for the pastoral tone of the Church’s response to the demonstrations across the country in our statements and actions since the death of George Floyd. He assured us of his continued prayers and closeness in the days and weeks ahead,” Gomez added.
On May 25, Floyd was arrested for attempting to use a counterfeit $20 bill. Footage of the incident circulated widely on the internet. It showed Floyd subdued and laying on his stomach, saying repeatedly, “I cannot breathe” and groaning as a police officer knelt on his neck for almost eight minutes, while other officers stood nearby and watched.
Floyd was taken to a local hospital, where he died shortly later. His death has spurred widespread protests, and looting and riots in numerous cities. President Donald Trump sparked controversy Monday when he said he would deploy federal troops to quell riots if state governors did not mobilize the National Guard.