Washington (AFP) - US ex-president Jimmy Carter said Wednesday he was pained by last week's police killing of an unarmed black man and urged authorities to end discriminatory policing and other systemic injustices that "undermine" American democracy.
George Floyd died on May 25 after a police officer pressed his knee to the handcuffed man's neck for several minutes, pinning him down on a Minneapolis street. The killing has triggered days of often violent protests across the country.
"People of power, privilege, and moral conscience must stand up and say 'no more' to a racially discriminatory police and justice system, immoral economic disparities between whites and blacks, and government actions that undermine our unified democracy," Carter said in a statement released by the Carter Center.
Carter, 95, is the last of the four living ex-presidents to comment on Floyd's killing, the outbursts of unrest -- and violent police crackdowns on protesters.
Carter said his and his wife's hearts are with Floyd and other victims of violence, but also with "all who feel hopeless in the face of pervasive racial discrimination and outright cruelty."
"We all must shine a spotlight on the immorality of racial discrimination. But violence, whether spontaneous or consciously incited, is not a solution," he added.
"We need a government as good as its people, and we are better than this."
Carter's four-year presidency ended in 1981. In the decades since he has been a champion of human rights, and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 for his efforts.