// Co-op CEO Steve Murrells becomes first UK retail boss to condemn the death of George Floyd
// He pledged to work harder to ensure staff at Co-op stores were not subject to “judgement and discrimination”
// Protests against police brutality since Floyd’s death have spread across the US
Co-op chief executive Steve Murrells has become the first high-profile UK retail boss to condemn the death of a black man which led to anti-police brutality protests across the US cities.
The protests were sparked after George Floyd became the latest in a long list of unarmed black Americans who was murdered at the hands of police in Minneapolis last week.
Floyd’s death was captured on a now-viral video, in which a white police officer pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes.
Floyd continuously yelled out “I can’t breathe” until he went motionless, while three other officers stood by.
Murrells, in a post on Twitter, said he wanted to work harder to ensure staff in the Co-op’s grocery stores and funeral parlours are not subject to “judgement and discrimination every single day”.
His comments come after chief executives in the US expressed solidarity with protesters and promised to address racism and inequality in workplaces.
Addressing staff, Murrells wrote: “We know we can’t go on like this. A world where people are judged, discriminated against and die due to the colour of their skin is not the world I want, that any of us want. Even though we are not in the USA we all have a part to play.
“Some of you experience judgement and discrimination every single day. Both in work and outside of work.
“I know I can’t get close to knowing what this feels like, but I want you to know that my ears are pinned back, my eyes are open and, as uncomfortable as it may be, I won’t look away. I know this is happening and it’s unacceptable and intolerable. It must change. We can change it.
“The inclusive culture that we, together, are trying to build at the Co-op will only live through actions. Not words alone. There is no doubt we’ve got more to do. We’re well underway but I’m not naive enough to think that we’re even nearly done. We need to go further and faster.”
The Co-op chief’s comments follow similar statements from the US and protests around the globe, including in London.