The family of George Floyd met with President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris Tuesday, on the anniversary of Floyd’s death, and demanded Congress pass police reform legislation.
Biden had originally set May 25, one year after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck, as the deadline to pass police reform legislation, but the day will come and go without a bill on the president’s desk.
The family met first with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., the chief author of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. After their visit at the White House, the family, accompanied by attorney Benjamin Crump, headed back to Capitol Hill to meet with a bipartisan pair of senators, Tim Scott, R-S.C., and Corey Booker, D-N.J.
Scott has written his own police reform proposal in the Senate.
The family, in a news conference after meeting with Biden, called for the House’s Justice in Policing Act to be passed. “If you can make federal laws to protect the bird that is the bald eagle you can make federal laws to protect people of color,” Floyd’s brother Philonese said.
The family said Biden had expressed “genuine” concern about how they were feeling on the anniversary of George Floyd’s death and had told them he is “not happy” about the deadline for police reform not being met.
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Crump said the family would talk to Scott and Booker about bipartisan negotiations. “It doesn’t have to be one against the other, we all want better policing,” Crump said. “This is an American issue, this isn’t a police issue or a civil rights issue.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked earlier why Biden was not using the bully pulpit on Tuesday to turn the heat up on Congress to pass police reform.
“I think this is a matter of what we feel is most constructive to move these negotiations forward and to get to the final outcome that everybody who advocates for justice, who advocates for reform wants to see, which is signing this bill into law,” she said. Psaki added that Biden is “encouraged” by bipartisan negotiations but refused to offer a new deadline for legislation.
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Sen. Scott told reporters Monday night that negotiators see “light at the end of the tunnel” on police reform.
“We continue to work on the process, and I think we have good, good progress over the weekend I thought, and I think we can see the end of the tunnel,” Scott said. He added there won’t be a final agreement this week, but lawmakers are starting to see a viable framework for a deal.
Booker expressed similar optimism.
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“We made a lot of progress over the weekend. So, we still have a lot of work to do. But the great thing about this bill is that, that everybody wants to get something really meaningful done,” Booker said. “And I was grateful for the amount of work that we’ve done. “