Sen. Graham on Floyd death: ‘A stain on law enforcement’

RAW VIDEO: Sen. Graham calls Floyd death 'a stain on law enforcement'

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham weighed in on the death of George Floyd who died while being held by Minneapolis Police.

Graham, who had just attended a roundtable discussion at MUSC in Charleston on COVID-19's impact on healthcare and the economy called what happened to Floyd "a stain on law enforcement."

“The best thing you can do for the good cops, which are overwhelming in number, is to deal with the bad cops forcefully,” he said. “Let the public know that in America, wearing a badge comes with responsibility.”

Floyd was shown in bystander footage pleading for air while he was handcuffed as a white police officer kneeled on his neck on Monday. As minutes pass, Floyd slowly stops talking and moving.

Graham said he understands the feelings of the community.

“It’s hard to watch that video and not be upset, but we have a system in place. Let’s make it better, let’s use it” he said.

He said most law enforcement officers "dedicate their lives to protecting us" and "risk their lives to make ours safer."

"Justice for Mr. Floyd would be achieved in a court of law, will be achieved with social change, when we turn the corner on police violence toward minority communities and members," Graham said. "Justice for Mr. Floyd will not be achieved by burning somebody's business down and taking violent reaction. I'm looking for justice, not revenge."

Floyd’s death have prompted three days of protests in Minneapolis and other cities. On Thursday night, protesters raided the police substation where the officers who arrested Floyd were stationed and set it on fire.

Mayor Jacob Frey appealed for calm but the city’s response to the protests was quickly questioned as things started spiraling into violence.

President Donald Trump on Friday threatened to take action to bring Minneapolis “under control,” calling violent protesters “thugs” and saying that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

Meanwhile, the officer who kneeled on Floyd’s neck was fired Tuesday with three other officers involved in the arrest. The next day, the mayor called for that officer to be criminally charged. He also appealed for the activation of the National Guard.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI in Minneapolis said Thursday they were conducting “a robust criminal investigation” into the death. Trump has said he had asked an investigation to be expedited.

Copyright 2020 WCSC. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.