Biden responds to Derek Chauvin's conviction in the murder of George Floyd

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Eliza Relman,Charles Davis
·3 min read
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Biden
President Joe Biden on March 23. Mandel Ngan/Getty Images
  • President Joe Biden called on Congress to pass criminal-justice reform to honor George Floyd.

  • "No one should be above the law," he said Tuesday. "And today's verdict sends that message."

  • The former police officer Derek Chauvin faces up to 40 years in prison for second-degree murder.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris addressed Americans on Tuesday night after a jury found the former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty in the murder of George Floyd.

"No one should be above the law," Biden said. "And today's verdict sends that message. But it's not enough."

He called the killing of Floyd "a murder in full light of day," saying it "ripped the blinders off for the whole world to see the systemic racism the vice president just referred to."

The president called on state and local governments to do more to reduce killings by law enforcement.

"We also need Congress to act," he said, calling for the passage of legislation, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, to address what he described as systemic misconduct in police departments.

He also warned against "agitators and extremists" exploiting the events to create further civil unrest. "We can't let them succeed. This is a time for this country to come together."

Biden's remarks came immediately after Harris spoke. "America has a long history of systemic racism," she said. "Black Americans, and Black men in particular, have been treated throughout the course of our history as less than human."

She added: "Because of smartphones, so many Americans have now seen the racial injustice that Black Americans have known for generations. It is not just a Black America problem, or a people-of-color problem. It is a problem for every American."

Biden, Harris, and the first lady, Jill Biden, earlier called Floyd's family after the verdict was announced Tuesday afternoon.

"Nothing's going to make it all better, but at least now there's some justice," Biden told the family, adding: "You're an incredible family - I wish I were there to put my arms around you."

Harris said she was "so grateful for the entire family, for your courage, your commitment, your strength."

"In George's name and memory, we're going to make sure that his legacy is intact and history will look back on this moment and know that it was an inflection moment," she said. "We're going to make something good come out of this tragedy, OK?"

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Chauvin was found guilty on all three charges against him: second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter. The verdict came after a closely watched three-week trial and two days of deliberation. Chauvin will be sentenced in the coming weeks and faces up to 40 years in prison.

Crowds gathered in Minneapolis erupted in cheers and shouts of "Justice!" as the verdict was read aloud by the judge on Tuesday afternoon.

Biden faced criticism for publicly weighing in on Chauvin's trial before the verdict was reached. But the president defended his comments by saying he'd waited until the jury was sequestered and therefore couldn't be influenced by his remarks.

The president told reporters on Tuesday that he was "praying for the right verdict" in Chauvin's trial and said the "evidence is overwhelming." And he said he had talked to Floyd's family and expressed sympathy and support over the phone.

"They're a good family and they're calling for peace and tranquility, no matter what that verdict is," Biden went on.

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Read the original article on Business Insider