The European Union is "shocked and appalled" by the killing of George Floyd in police custody, the bloc's top diplomat said, calling it "an abuse of power" and warning against further excessive use of force.
"Like the people of the United States, we are shocked and appalled by the death of George Floyd ... all societies must remain vigilant against the excessive use of force," Josep Borrell, the EU's foreign policy chief, told reporters.
Borrell called Floyd's death a "very, very unhappy" one and said it showed "an abuse of power" by law enforcement. "We condemn racism of any kind ... we trust in the ability of the Americans to come together, to heal as a nation".
The United States has been gripped by protests over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died last week in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and police brutality nationwide.
Lawyers representing the Floyd family said independent medical examiners who conducted an autopsy on Floyd's determined that asphyxiation from sustained pressure was the cause of death.
Protesters are demanding all four officers involved be charged in Floyd's death. So far, only one - white officer Derek Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes as the Black man pleaded, "I can't breathe" - has been arrested and charged on Friday with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
Those protesting against police brutality have been met with, at times, excessive force by authorities. Two officers were fired over the weekend in Atlanta, Georgia, for pulling two Black people out of a car and throwing them to the ground. Videos have shown police targeting angry but peaceful protesters with tear gas and mace. Journalists have also been targeted by police.
Protesters have remained undeterred by curfews and the presence of the US National Guard in some cities. Some largely peaceful protests turned violent, with looting and vandalism as the night raged on.
Germany says US protests 'more than legitimate'
Peaceful demonstrations in the United States against the "shocking" killing of George Floyd during an arrest by police are "more than legitimate", Germany's foreign minister said.
"The peaceful protests that we see in the US... are understandable and more than legitimate. I hope that these peaceful protests won't slide further into violence, but even more than that I hope that they will make a difference in the United States," Heiko Maas told reporters.
International reaction to George Floyd killing
Demonstrators from Australia to Europe identified with the cause of US protests and urged their own governments to address racism and police violence.
Opponents of the United States's foreign policy under President Donald Trump, meanwhile, took the opportunity to pour scorn on the violence that has engulfed the country after the killing of George Floyd.
China's foreign ministry spokesperson called out US racism as "a chronic disease of American society".
Legal experts: Autopsy could help ex-policeman's defence
An independent autopsy that found George Floyd died solely from asphyxiation could actually bolster the defence of the former Minneapolis police officer charged with killing him, legal experts said.
The autopsy report released on Monday said Floyd's death was a homicide and that he had no underlying medical conditions.
Later on Monday, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner released details of its autopsy findings that also said Floyd's death was a homicide caused by asphyxiation but that he had possible underlying health conditions and intoxicants in his body that may have been contributing factors in his death.
"It will be part of the defence strategy to say they can't even get the cause of death right," Gerald Lefcourt, a criminal defence attorney, said.
Paul Callan, a former New York prosecutor, said the "report created a lot of ammunition for a defence team to use in a criminal case or a subsequent civil case."
Source: News Agencies
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