WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden says George Floyd’s death was "a murder in the full light of day and it ripped the blinders off” for all the world to see the problems with race and policing in the U.S.
Biden, speaking after former police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty Tuesday of murder in Floyd’s death last May, says the verdict can be a giant step forward for the country against systemic racism.
Biden is lauding the officers who testified in the trial instead of closing ranks and keeping quiet. He says the verdict sends a strong message, but reform can’t stop with just the verdict.
He says it is so important to ensure Black and brown people don’t fear interaction with law enforcement.
Before Biden spoke, Vice President Kamala Harris said the nation still must work to reform the criminal justice system.
“A measure of justice isn’t the same as equal justice,” Harris says.
Biden, Harris and first lady Jill Biden called members of the Floyd family moments after the verdict, according to video posted by family attorney Ben Crump.
President Biden and VP Harris call the Floyd family after the GUILTY verdict! Thank you @POTUS & @VP for your support! We hope that we can count on you for the police reform we NEED in America! ✊🏾 pic.twitter.com/cg4V2D5tlI— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) April 20, 2021
Biden told the family, “Nothing is going to make it all better, but at least now there is some justice.”
He added, “We’re all so relieved.”
Biden said he hoped the verdict would give momentum to congressional police reform efforts.
According to the White House, Biden and Harris watched the verdict live from the private dining room just off the Oval Office.
Earlier in the day, before the jury was done deliberating, the president said he was “praying the verdict is the right verdict” in the trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin and that he believes the case to be “overwhelming.”
Biden told reporters at the White House on Tuesday that he was only weighing in on the trial into the death of George Floyd because the jury in the case had been sequestered.
He confirmed that he called Floyd’s family on Monday and said he “can only imagine the pressure and anxiety they’re feeling.”
Biden has repeatedly denounced Floyd’s death but had previously stopped short of weighing in on the trial itself.
Chauvin was found guilty of second- and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of Floyd.