US megastar The Rock has penned a powerful post following the death of George Floyd calling racism an "ongoing disease" as celebrities react to the protests.

US superstar The Rock has posted a heartfelt tribute to George Floyd and called for justice amid the "ongoing disease" of racism and police brutality in the US.

The Jumanji actor posted a note on Instagram for his 184 million followers saying he was "stunned trying to make sense of George's Floyd's death."

"The video. The plea for breath. The callous response. The racism. The killing. This is our ongoing disease," he said.

Advertisement

"I've had cops in my family. Good men. And there's a cop code, granting you the authority to use force if your life is in danger.

"But when a man is handcuffed, on the ground, no longer a threat, with your brothers in arms standing around watching and he struggles to say, "please I can't breathe" when your knee is on his neck. not his back, but his neck – cutting off his air.

"Cop code must become moral code. Ethics code. HUMANITY code."

The 46-year-old Floyd died this week after he was detained by police and held down by officers. One knelt on his neck for minutes while he told them: "I can't breathe".

His subsequent death sparked major protests across US cities, including dramatic scenes in Minneapolis were a police department was burned down.

The half-Samoan star The Rock, also known as Dwayne Johnson, said when a policeman decided "not to ease up" in that situation it meant "your intention is to kill".

"George Floyd said "officer I can't breathe" as he struggled for air. He said these words a total of 15 times. Not once. Not twice. 15 times.

"These officers will be charged, I'm positive of that. Held accountable."

Advertisement

"I'm so sorry to the Floyd family. My heart breaks for you."

Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who famously knelt during the national anthem in 2016 to highlight racial injustice also took to Instagram to tell his fans "when civility leads to death, revolting is the only logical reaction".

"We have the right to fight back. Rest in Power George Floyd," he wrote.

Basketball star LeBron James posted a tribute to Floyd, of himself wearing a black T-shirt with the words "I can't breathe" on it – what Floyd repeatedly told the US officer who was kneeling on his neck.

He also posted a picture of Colin Kaepernick alongside the US cop kneeling on Floyd, encouraging his followers to "stay woke" over racism and police brutality.

Floyd's death sparked major protests in Minneapolis that have spread to other cities from New York to Denver.

Advertisement

A tweet from President Trump that claimed "when the looting starts the shooting starts" was censored by Twitter, and retweeted by the White House before being censored again.