Martin Luther King III has called the police officers responsible for George Floyd’s death his “judge, jury and executioner.” He also called for an end to the violence.
King is the son of Civil Rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. He told the UK’s BBC that he understood why people were reacting to Floyd’s death they way they had.
“We’ve seen these kind of incidents happen in the African-American community,” King said. “And by the hands of policemen, over and over and over again.”
“When is enough going to be enough? When are law enforcement people going to treat African-Americans in the same way that everyone else is treated?”
King said the violence and looting should stop, but he acknowledged that these actions were caused by anger.
“I can never condone violence” he said. “I have to always believe there are other ways to resolve conflict.”
“My father and his team always advocated for non-violence, although they understood why people resort to violence.”
“Well, my father used to say violence is the language of the unheard. And so people’s voices have not been heard, obviously, because these kind of things keep happening and keep happening.”
“When my father was killed, the nation erupted into this kind of violence, over a hundred cities went up in flames.”
“That’s not what Martin Luther King Jr. would have wanted to have happened,” he said.
“But he also would have said, ‘Based on the circumstances, I certainly understand what people feel they’re going through.’ When you push someone up into a corner, at some point people will come out and react in ways that some would say are not responsible.”
Darragh Roche is a journalist covering U.S. politics and media