The visibly emotional Newsom shared some difficult conversations he has been having with his children about Floyd’s death on May 25. Derek Chauvin, a Minneapolis police officer who has since been fired, was charged Friday with third-degree murder and manslaughter in his death. Floyd’s death has sparked several days of protests across the country.
“Our hearts go out to George Floyd and his family. We have to be more resolved more than ever to do better as human beings, as parents, in our own behavior,” Newsom said, “We have got to change who we are.”
President Donald Trump spoke earlier in the day, but did not address Floyd’s death and the subsequent outcry.
“I hope we can lean into this moment, but in the spirit of so many lives that are impacted every days, to address the structural racism and institutions that fundamentally have to change.”
“Let us pray that people who want to express themselves do it gently,” Newsom said.
It was a year ago the use of force bill passed in California, he reminded, recognizing that “We can do better on training police officers. We’ve made a lot of progress in the state, but my god, we can do better.”
“The issues of racism are a big part of the real work we have in front of us in addressing public health,” he said, segueing into his COVID-19 presentation.
Newsom explained that the state will have 10,000 contact tracers trained by July 1. He highlighted the racial disparity in COVID-19 cases, and said 55% of deaths are among the Latino community.
“Testing, tracing and the ability to distribute protective gear” are the important components as the state begins to reopen, Newsom said.
He explained that it’s up to the counties of California to determine their own pace of reopening plans, but said the state is definitely not close to Phase 4, which would allow concerts. Earlier, he had approved Los Angeles Country restaurants and hair salons to reopen immediately.
Several other California counties have walked back their reopening plans as new cases appeared after their restrictions were lifted.