WASHINGTON, May 28 (Xinhua) -- Amid national outrage over police misconduct related to racial inequity, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday George Floyd, the black man who died in police custody in U.S. midwest state of Minnesota, was "murdered" at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department.
"We saw it on TV - him being murdered on TV," Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol.
Floyd died on Monday evening shortly after a white police officer held him down with a knee on his neck though the black man in his 40s repeatedly pleaded, "I can't breathe," and "please, I can't breathe." The police officer's way of handling the man is not approved by the local police department.
The four officers involved in the case were fired shortly after a video recording Floyd's death went viral on social media on Tuesday, sparking a national outcry for justice.
Appearing on CNN later in the day, the speaker called Floyd's death "an execution."
"We saw it, so we can't deny it or qualify it," she told the news network. "So justice has to be done."
House Democrats are eyeing a variety of responses, including the adoption of more stringent federal policing standards and a pressure campaign on the Justice Department to get more aggressive in tackling the issue of police misconduct targeting African Americans, according to a report of The Hill.
"There are all kinds of expressions of concern," Pelosi said. "But not just expressions of concern, plans to take action so that this stops."
In the wake of Floyd's death, protests have continued after turning violent on Wednesday night with fires burning and businesses looted in Minneapolis and also spread to some other U.S. cities including Los Angeles and Memphis, local media reported.
The Justice Department said on Thursday it will make the case a "top priority."