President Biden early Thursday marked the three-year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder with a push for Congress to pass police reform legislation.
“George Floyd’s murder exposed for many what Black and Brown communities have long known and experienced — that we must make a whole of society commitment to ensure that our Nation lives up to its founding promise of fair and impartial justice for all under the law,” Biden said in a statement.
A white police officer kneeled on the neck of Floyd, who was Black, for more than nine minutes on May 25, 2020. In video footage, Floyd could be heard saying, “I can’t breathe,” a phrase reminiscent of Eric Garner’s last words in 2014.
Video of Floyd’s encounter with the police sparked outrage across the country, prompting activists to take to the streets to protest police brutality and call for police reform. In the three years since the murder, lawmakers in Congress have tried to pass the George Floyd Justice in Police Act, which would ban chokeholds, carotid holds and no-knock warrants at the federal level, overhaul qualified immunity for police officers and ban racial profiling at every level of law enforcement.
The effort passed the House in 2021 but failed to pass the Senate.
In his statement Thursday, Biden once again called for Congress to act on police reform. He also noted that he signed an executive order last year that, among other measures, banned chokeholds, restricted no-knock warrants and created a database for police misconduct at the federal level.
“But we know that implementing real and lasting change at the state and local levels requires Congress to act,” he said. “I urge Congress to enact meaningful police reform and send it to my desk. I will sign it. I will continue to do everything in my power to fight for police accountability in Congress, and I remain willing to work with Republicans and Democrats alike on genuine solutions.
“Equal justice is a covenant we each have with one another,” he added. “Today, three years after George Floyd’s murder, let us build on the progress we have made thus far and recommit to the work we must continue to do every day to change hearts and minds as well as laws and policies.”
Derek Chauvin — the officer who kneeled on Floyd’s neck — was convicted of murder. Three other police officers involved in the encounter are also in prison. One of the three other officers is currently awaiting sentencing, but the two others pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting manslaughter and are serving shorter sentences than Chauvin.
Updated at 7:57 a.m. EDT
Source: The Hill