On the first anniversary of his murder by a Minneapolis police officer, a killing that launched protests and calls for police reform nationwide, members of George Floyd’s family met with President Biden, Vice President Harris and congressional leaders in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.
The meeting with Biden and Harris lasted approximately an hour, and was kept private. The White House said those attending included Floyd’s mother and daughter, three brothers and a nephew.
Biden issued a statement afterwards, saying that “the Floyd family has shown extraordinary courage, especially his young daughter Gianna, who I met again today. The day before her father’s funeral a year ago, Jill and I met the family and she told me, ‘Daddy changed the world.’ He has.”
Rodney Floyd, one of George Floyd’s brothers, told reporters after their meeting that Biden and Harris “showed great concern” for the family, asking after their emotional state and self-care.
Biden had hoped Congress would pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act by the first anniversary of his death.
Brandon Williams, Floyd’s nephew, told reporters that Biden’s deadline was discussed in the White House meeting.
Referring to the president, Williams said, “He’s not happy about it not being met, but all in all he just wants the bill to be right and meaningful and that it holds George’s legacy intact.”
“If you can make federal laws to protect the bird, which is the bald eagle, you can make federal laws to protect people of color,” said Philonise Floyd, another of George Floyd’s brothers.
Earlier Tuesday the family visited with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who said she hoped Congress “can bring comfort to your family” by passing the police overhaul bill named after Floyd.
The Democratic-led House has already approved a measure, but it remains tied up in negotiations with Senate Republicans, led by South Carolina’s Tim Scott, the chamber’s only Black Republican.
Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., said getting “a substantive piece of legislation” is “far more important than a specific date.” She vowed to work on a compromise measure “until we get the job done,” and vowed “it will be passed in a bipartisan manner.”
Differences over whether the measure should contain provisions making it easier to sue police officers over allegations of brutality appear to be the biggest stumbling block to an agreement.
In his statement, Biden said he appreciates “the good-faith efforts from Democrats and Republicans to pass a meaningful bill out of the Senate. It’s my hope they will get a bill to my desk quickly. We have to act.”
The White House also announced Tuesday that Biden will travel to Tulsa, Okla., on June 1, marking the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, when an armed white mob killed as many as 300 people in the prosperous Black community of Greenwood, known as Black Wall Street.