In the wake of Derek Chauvin’s guilty verdict on Tuesday, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris said there is still work to be done to combat systemic racism and that they will push Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.
“This bill is part of George Floyd’s legacy,” Harris said Tuesday.
“The president and I will continue to urge the Senate to pass this legislation, not as a panacea for every problem, but as a start. This work is long overdue.”
“Here’s the truth about racial injustice,” she continued. “It is not just a black America problem or a people of color problem. It is a problem for every American. It is keeping us from fulfilling the process of liberty and justice for all, and it is holding our nation back from realizing our full potential. We are all a part of George Floyd’s legacy, and our job now is to honor it and honor him.”
Biden said Floyd’s death “ripped the blinders off for the whole world to see the systemic racism … a stain on our nation’s soul.”
“Let’s also be clear, such a verdict is also much too rare,” he said. “As we saw in this trial from the fellow police officers who testified, most men and women who wear the badge serve their communities honorably, but those few who failed to meet that standard must be held accountable.”
On Tuesday, Chauvin was convicted of third-degree murder, second-degree manslaughter, and second-degree unintentional murder.
If found guilty on all charges, Chauvin faces a maximum of 75 years in prison. It took the jury around 10 hours to reach the verdict.
“This takes acknowledging and confronting head-on — systemic racism and the racial disparities that exist in policing and the justice system more broadly,” Biden said.
“We can’t stop here. In order to live a real change in reform, we can, and we must do more to reduce the likelihood that tragedy like this will ever happen to occur again,” the president said in closing. “This can be a moment of significant change.”
Biden said the jury carried out their “civic duty in the midst of an extraordinary moment,” he said, adding, “under extraordinary pressure.”
Democratic congresswoman Maxine Waters of California, days before the jury reached the verdict, encouraged a group of protesters outside the courthouse to “stay in the streets” and “get more confrontational” if they believe the verdict is insufficient.
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Author: Damjan Tutarkov
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