Murder of George Floyd

What did Biden say about Chauvin's guilty verdict for murder of George Floyd

President Biden addresses the nation Tuesday after the officer who killed George Floyd was found guilty on all counts.

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What did Biden say about Chauvin's guilty verdict for murder of George Floyd
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI AFP

After a nation-on-edge received the news that a Minneapolis jury found Derek Chauvin guilty, President Biden took to the airwaves to express his thoughts on what the case and the verdict meant for the country.

Chauvin verdict: a moment of significant change

President Biden began by saying that he hoped that the verdict would be marked as “a moment of significant change” and validated those in the US who feel that verdicts of this nature are “much too rare.”

Starting in 2015 the Washington Post has tracked police shootings across the US, and since the project began, the paper has recorded more than 6,200 names.

Since 2005, only 141 police officers have been charged with a crime following a fatal shooting. Of those, only 44 have been convicted, according to data from University of Bowling Green professor Philip Stinson. While many cases where police officers apply deadly force are found to be justified under the law, the tragic case George Floyd and many others highlight the need for greater oversight and transparency from police.

Legislative steps in face of police violence

The President also used his time talking to the nation to encourage Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act, cosponsored by then-Senator Kamala Harris last summer. The legislation which aims to “tackle systemic misconduct in police departments, to restore trust between law enforcement and the people that are entrusted to serve and protect” was passed by the House of Representatives in February with no support from Republicans.

The bill’s progress through Congress has stalled since Senate Republicans oppose the legislation, leaving it without the sixty votes needed to become law. CBS News reported that Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) and Corey Booker (D-NJ) have been negotiating an alternate proposal. In March, Senator Scott said progress is being made and that he is hopeful they will reach an agreement “sooner rather than later.”

The Washington Post database mentioned above does not include the case of George Floyd, Freddie Grey, or Eric Garner, as those deaths were not caused by a shooting. Data on this type of interaction is not tracked at the federal level, making it very hard to capture the scale of the issue. The proposed legislation includes a provision that would mandate all Federal, State, Tribal, and local law enforcement agency report any instances where an officer uses deadly force. Additionally, the law would require law enforcement authorities to report information on the number of traffic and pedestrian stops made as well as stop and frisk body searches.

Biden calls for change of trajectory for US

President Biden closed his remarks reminding the country that the work to end systemic injustice is not over and that “we must not turn away” because the nation has a real “chance to begin to change the trajectory in this country.”