A Worcester councillor intends to join a city protest march following the death of a black man in police custody in the US, saying he has experienced racism himself.

Chris Mitchell, a magistrate who served his country in the British Army, said he was appalled by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis after a police officer placed his knee on the African American’s throat for nine minutes. The father had told officers: “I can’t breathe.”

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Derek Chauvin, now sacked, faces a second degree murder charge as three other officers face counts of aiding and abetting murder. Since his death on May 25, the US has been convulsed by protests, some escalating into riots and looting. Young people in Worcester are set to go ahead with a peaceful march and protest although an official date, time and location for the event have yet to be revealed publicly.

Cllr Mitchell, who is mixed race and has experienced racism in the UK and seen evidence of prejudice in the US, wants to show his support for the march, arguing that it will raise awareness and show solidarity. He said: “Unfortunately, the US police have a history of using excessive force on black people and black males in particular.”

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The son of a black man from Bermuda who came to the UK in 1956 with the Windrush generation and a white woman from Portsmouth, Cllr Mitchell was born on a council estate but attended Sandhurst and rose through the ranks to become a Major in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. The father-of-two has been in touch with the organisers and hopes to attend with one of his two daughters.

The 52-year-old of Spetchley Road, Worcester, described what happened to Mr Floyd as ‘appalling’ and the footage of his treatment as ‘disturbing’ and added: “One of his colleagues should have stepped in and said ‘enough is enough’.” The Conservative councillor lived in New York for 18 months when aged four to six years and, though he did not experience racism directly, has been made aware since of the segregation which existed there in the 1970s and the impact on his family. He visited Texas on business when he was 36 and spoke to a man he knew who gave him strong but friendly advice. He said: “I was in a bar talking to a Texan and I said I was going to go to East Texas. He said ‘you don’t want to go there, you would not be stood in a bar talking like this in East Texas’.”