Since George Floyd’s death, police violence has not waned. His family members join President Biden and Vice President Harris at the White House to grieve and discuss police reform.
One year after the murder of George Floyd, members of Floyd’s family met with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris at the White House. The group met in private to mark a year since the death of George Floyd and the ensuing call for racial justice across the world.
Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man was murdered by police officer Derek Chauvin. Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes. Floyd’s death and the outcry that followed created a global movement.
After a summer of protest and demands for change in law enforcement, Biden has met with Floyd’s family to reflect on their loss– and point towards action. “Last month’s conviction of the police officer who murdered George was another important step forward toward justice. But our progress can’t stop there,” said Biden.
Since Floyd’s death, police violence has not waned. The Washington Post data shows that 967 people have been shot and killed by police in the past year. In light of continuing violence, Biden addressed current negotiations on the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. Biden called for the Policing Act to be passed by the one-year anniversary of Floyd’s death, but with the House out of Washington, the bill won’t be passed by the deadline.
The Policing Act was introduced by Vice President Kamala Harris, Senator Cory Booker, and Representative Karen Bass. Harris says the bill will “hold law enforcement accountable and build trust between law enforcement and the communities it serves.” The Act encompassed a broad array of issues related to police brutality and racial justice, with some key legislative points. One component of the bill limits the standard of criminal intent necessary to convict a law enforcement officer for misconduct.
The part of the bill that has prohibited its passage is the limit on qualified immunity. The act would curb qualified immunity to private civil actions against a law enforcement officer, an area Republicans hesitate to pass in Congress.
Biden told the family he’s “not happy” about missing the deadline, but stressed that he wants it to be the “right bill” for George Floyd’s legacy. Without the press around, Biden spent time with the Floyd family during a painful anniversary.
“I got a chance to spend a lot of time with Gianna and the family, and we just talked about- you know, it’s the one-year anniversary. And those of you that have been through personal loss know that although every anniversary is, you’re happy people remember, it also brings everything back immediately like it happened that day. It takes a lot of courage to go through it. And they’ve been wonderful.”
Asked specifically about George Floyd’s young daughter, Gianna, Biden said the first thing she did was run to him and give him a hug, then asked for snacks. Gianna had Cheetos and milk (possibly chocolate milk) during the visit to the White House, he said.
“My wife’s going to kill me,” he joked after listing the snacks.
Floyd’s family all said the conversation with the President and Vice President was productive and meaningful.
“I think that the meeting went well. He showed concern, and I think genuinely he wanted to know exactly how we were doing and what he could do to support us," said Brandon Williams, George Floyd’s nephew.
Still, the family echoed hopes for progress on the passage of The Policing Act.
"If you can make federal laws to protect the bird which is the Bald Eagle, you can make federal laws to protect people of color,” said Philonise Floyd, George Floyd’s sister.
In the meantime, Biden said he’s spoken with negotiators on police reform and he’s “hopeful that after Memorial Day” there will be a potential deal.
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