On the one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis, his family met with President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris in the White House on Tuesday and expressed optimism that a sweeping police reform bill named after him will eventually become law.
Floyd’s family, including his three brothers and his daughter, Gianna, joined Biden and Harris at the Oval Office to discuss Floyd’s legacy and the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which passed the House last summer but remains stalled in the Senate amid negotiations about the scope of the bill.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who represents Floyd’s family, said the meeting lasted more than an hour, according to a report from pooled press. Floyd’s brother Philonise said it was a “great” meeting.
"I know the president was very personal, because he got to know this family over the years,” Crump said, “and he wanted to check on them today of all days to see how they were doing. To reiterate that they are still doing everything to make sure that his legacy is respected, and that involves us going to meet with senators to continue to press forward for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act that he says he is ready to sign any day.”
While speaking with reporters at the White House after the meeting, Floyd’s daughter, Gianna, raised her small fist and said, "Say his name,” along with her family, according to reporters at the scene.
The meeting comes almost a month after Biden urged Congress to pass the legislation by the one-year anniversary of Floyd’s killing. According to Crump, the president said Tuesday that he “doesn’t want to sign a bill that doesn’t have substance and meaning. So he is going to be patient to make sure it’s the right bill, not a rushed bill.
“This is an American issue. This isn’t a police issue or a civil rights issue,” Crump said.
Floyd was killed on May 25, 2020. Then-Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck until he was asphyxiated. Chauvin was convicted in April of murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death and will be sentenced in June.
The bill that passed the House would, among other things, eliminate qualified immunity for law enforcement, making it easier for people to sue law enforcement for constitutional violations in civil court. It would also ban chokeholds and carotid holds — potentially lethal uses of force — at the federal level, and it would promote the same in local and state police departments by conditioning federal funding on whether those agencies forbid the practice.
Crump said the family would meet with Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Tim Scott, R-S.C., on Tuesday afternoon to discuss how to garner bipartisan support for the bill, per the pool report. Earlier this month, Scott said on CBS that he’s “hopeful” both sides can find common ground.
In a statement Tuesday, Biden said negotiations on the bill are “ongoing.”
“I have strongly supported the legislation that passed the House,” the statement said, “and I appreciate the good-faith efforts from Democrats and Republicans to pass a meaningful bill out of the Senate. It’s my hope they will get a bill to my desk quickly.”
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