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U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz speak out against George Floyd's death, condemn protest violence

Both senators from Texas have commented in recent days.

Chris Hayes interviews U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz at The Texas Tribune Festival on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019.

Editor's note: this story has been updated to include comment from Sen. John Cornyn.

WASHINGTON — The state's two U.S. senators spoke out in recent days to express their horror at the death of George Floyd.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz said this weekend that the death of George Floyd, a Minneapolis black man, is "clearly police brutality."

"It's horrific, and it starts with a horrific act of police brutality," the state's junior GOP senator said on Fox News on Sunday evening. "You know, anytime you have a police officer-involved shooting, the media oftentimes goes into a frenzy. And there is an immediate demonization and attack of the police officers, and I think that's wrong, and I think it's premature.

"That being said, in this instance, we have a video of the incident, and we can see with Mr. Floyd, the officer with his knee on his neck for eight minutes," he continued. "Mr. Floyd has handcuffs. He's clearly incapacitated. He's begging for his life, and what we saw was wrong."

On Monday, Cruz reiterated his comments on Twitter.

"There is no legitimate law enforcement purpose for what we saw in #GeorgeFloyd’s case," he wrote. "It was clearly police brutality and it was not conduct we expect of any officer. Now, the criminal justice system must hold these officers accountable for their actions."

In the Fox News interview, however, Cruz expressed disapproval of what he described as "this violence and this rioting" by some protesters over the weekend.

"You have a lot of demagogues that want to use this incident of clear abuse by one police officer, and they want to use it to paint every police officer as corrupt and racist," he said.

"And most police officers heroically risk their lives to protect the communities they're in, often minority communities," he added. "And for everyone that is stirring up racial division and engaging in violence and looting, that is completely unacceptable."

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn spoke on the Senate floor Monday on the matter, saying that "devastating events like the death of George Floyd remind us that we have a long way to go in the fight for equal justice under the law."

"I understand and share the passion and the anger that has spread across the country and support those who are peacefully protesting and demanding justice be served," he said. "There should never be a time in which the color of someone's skin determines whether they live or die, and we have to do everything in our power to prevent these tragedies from occurring in the first place.

"But that change can't happen when businesses are being looted, when vehicles are being set on fire or innocent people are being harmed," he added. "It can only happen when we come together and learn to empathize with one another, and understand the struggles our neighbors are facing."

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