A LABOUR councillor said footage showing African American George Floyd begging police officers for air shortly before he died left her “really disturbed”.

Mr Floyd, 46, was stopped and arrested by police in Minneapolis investigating the purchase of cigarettes with counterfeit money on May 25.

Footage taken by a witness shows a white police officer kneel on Mr Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes before being carried off on a stretcher.

He was later pronounced dead in hospital.

Mr Floyd’s death has caused outrage around the world, especially within black communities enraged by the death of yet another unarmed black man at the hands of the police.

In the USA, it has also sparked massive protests, led by the Black Lives Matter human rights movement, and widespread rioting.

St Helens Star: George Floyd's death has sparked massive Black Lives Matter protestsGeorge Floyd's death has sparked massive Black Lives Matter protests

Thousands of protestors marched through London yesterday in an overwhelmingly peaceful Black Lives Matter demonstration and further protests have gone on in other cities today (Thursday).

In St Helens, the Steve Prescott Bridge was among national and international landmarks to light up purple on Tuesday, to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Labour’s Bisi Osundeko, St Helens Council’s first black councillor, praised the council for showing solidarity to the protests.

And she said she understands why the death of Mr Floyd has made such a huge impact around the globe.

Cllr Osundeko said: “Some people will say, this has happened in America, why should this be our business in the UK or even St Helens?

“What people don’t understand is that, injustices to one is injustices to all. That person really could be my brother. He is a black man.

“I immediately started thinking of my husband because he’s also muscular and tall. If we don’t speak out this could also happen to them.

“So this is the reason why we definitely need to speak out about injustices.”

On Wednesday, the former Minneapolis Police officer who pressed his knee into Mr Floyd’s neck had his charge elevated to second-degree murder.

The three other officers on scene during his killing were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.

Cllr Osundeko, who was elected to represent Parr in the 2019 local elections, said she was deeply affected by the footage.

The video shows Mr Floyd repeatedly tell officers “I can’t breathe”, which has become a slogan associated with the Black Lives Matter movement.

St Helens Star: Cllr Bisi Osundeko, St Helens Council's Labour councillor for ParrCllr Bisi Osundeko, St Helens Council's Labour councillor for Parr

Cllr Osundeko said: “It really disturbed me, I was really, really down for a while. I was stunned, I was shocked. This is 2020, how can this be happening in a civilised world? I was really, really disturbed.

“That image of a subdued man who is at his last moments, a black man, a full-grown man, crying for help, begging for water, begging to breathe.

“Subdued by a white police officer, sitting on his neck, begging. And he showed no mercy. That showed power and merciless killing.

“It sends a negative message out and that is why the world must not ignore.”

Cllr Osundeko added: “Apart from what happened recently, you would probably never hear me talk about race because I can understand people aren’t comfortable talking about race.

“But I think that video in particular triggered a lot of emotions, a lot of feelings in lots of black people.

“It just reminds us of the oppression that we’ve been facing historically, not just us but our ancestors who have come and gone before.

“And people are just saying enough is enough.”