Joe Biden Calls George Floyd’s Death ‘Murder in the Full Light of Day’

Joe Biden Calls George Floyd’s Death ‘Murder in the Full Light of Day’

Hours after indicating that he felt that the evidence for conviction was “overwhelming” in the murder trial of a former Minneapolis police officer, President Joe Biden called the death of George Floyd “murder in the full light of day” in an address to the nation, calling for swift passage of the police reform legislation that bears Floyd’s name.

“George Floyd was murdered almost a year ago. There is meaningful police reform legislation in his name,” Biden said, speaking from the White House on Tuesday evening. “It shouldn’t take a whole year to get this done.”

The president’s address came after a Minnesota jury voted to convict Derek Chauvin on all counts for the murder of Floyd, a Black man who died after Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes last May. Floyd’s death, captured on video by a bystander who later testified against Chauvin, ignited nationwide unrest last summer and sparked the largest racial justice protest movement in decades.

“‘I can’t breathe.’ Those were George Floyd’s last words,” Biden said. “We can’t let those words die with him—we have to keep hearing those words. We must not turn away. We can’t turn away.”

Vice President Kamala Harris, speaking before Biden, acknowledged that Chauvin’s conviction was a step in the right direction for police accountability, but far from enough.

“Today we feel a sigh of relief. Still, it cannot take away the pain. A measure of justice isn’t the same as equal justice,” Harris said. “We still have work to do.”

Harris called for passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which she introduced as a senator last year, which she said “would hold law enforcement accountable and help build trust between law enforcement and our communities.”

The act, Harris said, would be “part of George Floyd’s legacy… not as a panacea for every problem, but as a start.”

The bill has strong Democratic support in both chambers of Congress, but faces a tough road ahead in the U.S. Senate, where Republicans have vowed to filibuster the legislation.

Earlier on Tuesday, Biden indicated his support for Chauvin’s conviction, telling reporters after an Oval Office meeting with Latino lawmakers that he was “praying the verdict is the right verdict.”

“It’s overwhelming, in my view,” Biden said of the evidence against Chauvin, in response to a question about what he would say to the Floyd family ahead of the jury’s decision.

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