Forty American cities, including New York, are still under curfew, while protests against police violence are increasing. Maxime Lefèvre is a Frenchman living in the United States for ten years. Staff member of the NBA team of the Minnesota Timberwolves, he lives in Minneapolis, where the death of George Floyd, an African-American asphyxiated during his arrest by a white police officer, set the country ablaze. Interviewed on Wednesday by Europe 1, he describes a city "very damaged by the riots", but also an America deeply damaged by racism.
"Minneapolis has been the forerunner of everything we are currently seeing in the United States," explains Maxime Lefèvre. "It was a time bomb, the death of George Floyd was the detonator for a black community which is fed up with it. But I also believe that the whole American people is fed up with it", he continues. "This is not an isolated act, it is something that has happened several times in recent years. […]. But the video [of the arrest of George Floyd] is so abominable ... It has mobilized many more people, it’s a shame to get there to bring about change. "
"Give the police no excuses"
Married to an African-American woman, this Frenchman is the father of a little girl, and he does not hide his anxiety about raising a Métis child in a society marked by such intense inter-community violence. "All the black parents I know teach their child how to behave during a police check," he admits. "Keep your hands in view, explain any movement that you could make such as taking your wallet or opening your glove box, avoiding looking the officer in the eyes ... In short, do everything to give no excuse to the police, "he said.
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Threats from Donald Trump
For his part, Donald Trump, who said on Twitter the president of "law and order", threatened to involve the army to restore calm in the country. For our Frenchman, this speech of extreme firmness continues to exacerbate tensions instead of inviting appeasement. "I work in a very diverse environment, with many people of different origins. For them, it is difficult to hear the words of Donald Trump. He puts more fuel on the fire than anything else," reports Maxime Lefevre. "He uses this event to attack his political opponents, when we need a real message of unity. It is a problem of justice, not of the right and the left," he concluded.