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Joe Biden says George Floyd death sentence “a step forward” – Deadline

President Joe Biden has called Derek Chauvin’s conviction for the murder of George Floyd a “step forward” to ending systemic racism in the country.

Joined by Vice President Kamala Harris in the White House, Biden said: “Systemic racism is a stain on the soul of the nation, the knee on the neck of justice for black Americans, fear and trauma deep, pain and exhaustion of black and brown Americans. live every day. “

In brief remarks earlier, Harris said, “Today we feel a sigh of relief. Still, that can’t take away the pain. A measure of justice is not the same as equal justice. “

Biden and Harris each called on the Senate to pass the George Floyd Police Justice Act, which would prohibit, among other things, federal law enforcement from using chokes and restricting other practices. The House passed the bill in February, but is awaiting a vote in the Senate.

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Noting that Harris had helped draft the bill when she was in the Senate, Biden said, “It shouldn’t take a whole year to get there.”

“’I can’t breathe’ – those were George Floyd’s last words. We cannot let those words die with him. We must continue to hear these words. We must not turn away, ”Biden said.

“This can be a time of significant change,” he said.

Biden called Floyd’s family shortly after the verdict was announced. Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, was convicted of all three counts, including unintentional second degree murder, third degree murder and second degree manslaughter.

“Nothing will ever be able to bring their brother, their father back, but it can be a giant leap in the march towards justice in America,” Biden said.

But he said the guilty verdict was something “far too rare” and that a convergence of factors was still needed, including an eyewitness recording of Floyd’s murder and police officers ready to testify against him. one of their own, to make that happen. .

“No one is above the law, and today’s verdict sends this message, but it’s not enough.”

Biden also said he spoke with Floyd’s daughter, Gianna, at her funeral last year, and spoke to her again today.

He said he told her, “Daddy changed the world. Let this be his legacy.

Some of Biden’s predecessors have issued statements praising the verdict.

Barack Obama, in a statement with Michelle Obama, said that “if we are honest with ourselves, we know that real justice is more than just one verdict in one trial.

“True justice demands that we accept the fact that black Americans are treated differently, every day.”

Bill Clinton said the jury “made the right decision” in the conviction.

“His tragic death and the evidence at trial painfully showed that we need to do much better in recruiting, training and holding law enforcement accountable to the communities they serve,” said Clinton. “The failure to do so continues to hit America, as we have seen in recent days.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been criticized for saying of the verdict: “Thank you George Floyd for sacrificing your life for justice, for being there to call your mother, call your mother: ‘I don’t can’t breathe. ‘”Pelosi later wrote on Twitter:”George Floyd should be alive today. Her family’s calls for justice for her murder have been heard around the world. He did not die in vain. We need to make sure other families don’t suffer from the same racism, violence and pain, and we need to embrace the George Floyd #JusticeInPolicing Act.”

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