Biden welcomes George Floyd relatives, but anti-police violence law still on hold

Biden welcomes George Floyd relatives, but anti-police violence law still on hold

Joe Biden receives this Tuesday the family of the African-American George Floyd, suffocated a year ago by a white policeman, but the president has not yet managed, as he hoped, to get Congress to pass a bill against police violence.

Killed on May 25, 2020 in Minneapolis during his arrest by four police officers, Floyd has become a symbol in USA and beyond.

His ordeal sparked an unprecedented mobilization and his “I can’t breathe” became a rallying cry against police abuse.

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“The case of George Floyd marks a before and after, but there is still a racist system by nature.”

The sentence will be known on June 25, but members of the Floyd family, who have become spokespersons for this fight, insist that things must change in depth.

In Washington, they will meet at the end of the morning with the Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, then with Joe Biden, “in the hope of advancing their efforts” to have Congress vote on a vast bill to reform the law. police force named after George Floyd.

With his lawyer, Ben Crump, they will also be at the end of the afternoon in the “Black Lives Matter Plaza”, a pedestrian segment near the White House that has become a place of concentration and memory in the capital.

For now, the US executive seeks to highlight the president’s empathy rather than the legislative agenda.

May 25, 2020 “was a day that had a great impact on him and millions of Americans,” said the president’s spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, adding that Biden was marked by the “courage and sympathy” of the family. Floyd, particularly his daughter Gianna.

“I would like to be with you and take you in my arms”, launched during a telephone conversation with them shortly after the announcement in April of the Chauvin trial ruling, which kept the United States on edge.

Tuesday’s meeting will be held behind closed doors at the White House, to allow “a real conversation.”

Legislative slowness

On the legislative front, things are much slower.

In his first major address to Congress in late April, Biden  painted the image of an America back on its feet after a series of great crises.

He then asked Congress to pass a police reform bill named after George Floyd on the first anniversary of his death.

But the “George Floyd Justice in Policing Act” is still debated by the Senate.

The text, adopted by the House of Representatives, provides in particular for the prohibition of strangulation and aims to limit the broad immunity (“qualified immunity”) enjoyed by police officers.

Psaki admitted that “the timetable for the approval of the law will not be maintained,” but emphasized that Biden said he was satisfied with the progress underway.

“America has abandoned George Floyd and so many others,” tweeted Democratic Senator Cory Booker, who will also meet, along with Republican counterpart Tim Scott, with the Floyd family.

“Our nation is waking up to the reality that Black Americans live every day; changing this reality is not an impossible task”, he added.

“Stop! It is time to vote on this law.” Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren reacted more firmly, criticizing the Republican blockade.

Considered a man of dialogue, capable of reaching agreements with the Republicans, Biden, who was a senator for 38 years, knows that a large part of his political capital is at stake on this issue, as well as his massive investment plan in infrastructure, which He also faces serious obstacles on Capitol Hill.

“We continue to move towards a compromise and remain optimistic about the possibility of achieving it,” wrote on Monday, in a joint statement, Booker, Scott and their fellow Sen. Karen Bass (Democrat).

While the debate for a federal law continues, some localities are trying to adopt regulations to reduce the risk of police abuse, for example by providing that officers who are in charge of road safety do not carry weapons.

Meanwhile, some 1,500 people gathered in Minneapolis on Sunday.

“What happened to George Floyd and so many others are causing change not only in the United States but around the world,” Reverend Al Sharpton, a figure in the fight for civil rights, told the crowd.

The religious described the death of Floyd as “one of the greatest misfortunes in American history.”

Melissa Galbraith
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.