After Derek Chauvin’s Guilty Verdict, Biden Calls on Congress to Act on Police Reform

“This can be a moment of significant change.”

Evan Vucci/AP

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Shortly after a Minneapolis jury found former police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd, President Biden called on Congress to enact police reform to prevent any such killings in the future. “This can be a moment of significant change,” he said.

Biden urged the Senate to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to “tackle systemic misconduct in police departments [and] to restore trust between law enforcement and the people they’re entrusted to serve and protect.” The legislation, which has passed in the House twice, would, among other reforms, limit qualified immunity for police officers and restrict the types of force police could use.

Biden also emphasized that the Senate’s confirmation of his Department of Justice nominees would be instrumental in bringing about the reform he envisioned.

Before Biden took the podium, Vice President Kamala Harris pointed out the history of racism in the United States that has led to police violence against Black communities. “Black Americans, and Black men in particular, have been treated throughout the course of our country as less than human,” she said. “Black men are fathers and brothers and sons and uncles and grandfathers and friends and neighbors. Their lives must be valued in our education system, in our health care system, in our housing system, in our economic system, in our criminal justice system, in our nation. Full stop.”

Before addressing the nation, Biden spoke with George Floyd’s family by phone:

“The guilty verdict does not bring back George,” Biden said in his afternoon address. “But, through the family’s pain, they’re finding purpose so George’s legacy will not be just about his death, but about what we must do in his memory.”

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