George Floyd’s family on Tuesday, May 25, called the US Congress to “Protect people of color” by passing a law to reform the police, after a highly symbolic meeting with President Joe Biden at the White House a year after the African-American 40-year-old died below the knee of a white police officer.
“If you can make federal law to protect a bird, the bald eagle, you can make federal law to protect people of color.”, launched one of his brothers, Philonise Floyd, in reference to the eagle mascot of the United States.
The meeting with Mr Biden and his vice-president, Kamala Harris, behind the scenes of the cameras, was “Very constructive”, added another of his brothers, Terrence Floyd, even if the law wanted by the president and already passed by the lower house remains blocked in the Senate.
“There are two courts in the United States, we must unite and correct this situation”, said Philonise Floyd. “I will do whatever I have to do” for this law to be passed, he insisted.
To conclude this historic visit, the family raised their fists and chanted the name of George Floyd, who has become the symbol of victims of police violence in the United States since his death on May 25, 2020, in Minneapolis during his arrest by four police officers. .
His agony, filmed live, provoked an unprecedented mobilization; his plea – « I can’t breathe » : ” I can not breathe ” -, turned into a rallying cry against the abuses of the police. Police officer Derek Chauvin, who knelt on his neck for nearly ten minutes, was convicted of murder. His sentence will be announced on June 25.
Joe Biden for his part greeted the “Extraordinary courage” relatives of George Floyd, who have become the spokespersons in the fight against police abuse and the defenders of a great law bearing his name, which must bring about profound changes in the police force. Using the words of George Floyd’s daughter, Gianna, who repeats that her father “Changed the world”, M. Biden a assuré : ” He did it. “
The Floyd family had previously met the Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, on Capitol Hill. George Floyd’s relatives then meet with two senators, Democrat Cory Booker and Republican Tim Scott, who are trying to reach a consensus on a text acceptable to both camps.
M. Biden “Wants the law to be fair, to make sense, and to keep George’s legacy intact”, assured his nephew, Brandon Williams. The family is due at the end of the afternoon on the « Black Lives Matter Plaza », which has become a place of rallying and memory in the American capital.
But on the legislative front, things are moving slowly. In his first major speech to Congress at the end of April, Joe Biden called on elected officials to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act by the first anniversary of his death. But it is still under debate in the Senate.
A text under negotiation
The text voted in March by the House of Representatives provides in particular for the prohibition of strangulation catches and aims to limit the broad immunity enjoyed by American police officers. This modification is the hard point of the negotiations, the Republicans posing as defenders of the legal protections of the police.
“The timetable for the vote on the law will not be kept”, admitted White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki, while stressing that Joe Biden welcomed the progress underway. “Our nation is awakening to the reality that black Americans live daily, changing this reality is not an impossible task”, for his part assured on Twitter Cory Booker.
Elected on the image of a man of dialogue, capable of finding compromises with the Republicans, Joe Biden, who was a longtime senator, knows that he plays a large part of his political capital on this issue.
If there is no “Big night” at the federal level, states and cities are moving forward. Some localities are trying to experiment to reduce the risk of burrs, for example by disarming the officers in charge of road safety.
Also listen How George Floyd’s death changed America