George Floyd’s Kin Meets US President Biden, Push for Bill Resumes
In March, the Democratic-led House of Representatives passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.
A year since Derek Chauvin brutalised and murdered George Floyd, an African-American man, and launched the United States into months-long protests, his family members, including his seven-year old daughter Gianna Floyd, stood outside the White House chanting his name.
Even as US president Joe Biden met Floyd’s family on Tuesday, 25 May, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act is yet to be enacted as a law.
After the meeting, President Biden wrote in a statement from Washington, “His (George Floyd) murder launched a summer of protests we hadn’t seen since the Civil Rights era in the ‘60s – protests that peacefully unified people of every race and generation to collectively say enough of the senseless killings.”
A Long-Delayed Step Towards Justice
Speaking on the Bill, Biden added, “The negotiations on the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act in Congress are ongoing,” underlining his support for the legislation that passed the House, but is yet to be enacted into a law.
In March, the Democratic-led House of Representatives passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which aims to put an end to contentious police tactics such as “choke holds”, and makes it easier to sue individual police officers for violent, unlawful conduct.
In the senate, the Act is suspended in limited space, where Republican objections to a provision, which ends qualified immunity, have prevented it from becoming a law.
Following the meeting with Biden and VP Kamala Harris, Floyd's brother Philonise said, "If you can make federal laws to protect the (national) bird, which is the bald eagle, you can make federal laws to protect people of colour,” Reuters reported. He also went on to refer to Biden as a “genuine guy”.
Floyd’s nephew, Brandon Williams stated, "He did let us know that he supports passing the Bill, but he wants to make sure that is the right Bill and not a rushed Bill.”
A year after the chorus of George Floyd’s dying words – “I can’t breathe” – filled the cities of the US, the President said on Tuesday, “We have to act. We face an inflection point. The battle for the soul of America has been a constant push and pull between the American ideal, that we’re all created equal, and the harsh reality that racism has long torn us apart.”
The Fight Resumes
Miles away from the White House, in a park in Minneapolis, Floyd’s sister, Bridgett Floyd attended a protest – a "Celebration of Life" event – in remembrance of her brother.
On being asked why she had not visited the White House, Bridgett said, "I was going to DC for Biden to sign a Bill.”
Her presence at the protest served as a reminder that even after a year, the President could not sign the Bill. “It’s been 57 years since we’ve had meaningful legislation,” the family’s lawyer, Ben Crump said from Washington on the same day, before leaving to meet senators working for a bipartisan deal.
"Biden has not signed that Bill. Biden has broken a promise," Bridgett said, BBC quoted. "Get your people in order," was her message for the President.
In the state of Minneapolis, people gathered at the intersection where a white police officer kneeled on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes, murdering him. The spot has been turned into a memorial site.
However, the demonstration at “George Floyd Square” was momentarily interrupted by at least 20 rounds of gunfire, where one person was reportedly injured, BBC reported.
In the past year, the state of Minneapolis has been struggling with growing gun violence, with nearly 200 officers in the city police department resigning or on leave.
In April, Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder and is awaiting sentencing next month. The conviction, which marked a crucial point in the fight against systemic racism and police brutality, saw people rushing out on the streets to celebrate the win for Floyd and the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
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